Towards A Pro-Poor, Decent-Work Rich & Sustainable Macroeconomic Framework

Introduction

Since independence, the government has come up with so many economic blueprints including: Growth with Equity (1981); Transitional National Development Plan (1982-85); 1st Five Year National Development Plan (1986-90); Economic Structural Adjustment Programme – ESAP (1991-1995); Zimbabwe Programme for Economic and Social Transformation – ZIMPREST (1996-2000); Millennium Economic Recovery Programme – MERP (2000); Ten Point Plan, with an emphasis on agriculture (2002); National Economic Revival Programme – NERP (2003); Macroeconomic Policy Framework (2005–2006): ‘Towards Sustained Economic Growth’; Expansionary Monetary Policies (2003–2008); National Economic Development Priority Programme – NEDPP (2007); the Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS) which was supposed to run from 2008-2013;Short-term Emergency Recovery Programme (2009); the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation – ZIMASSET (2013-2018); the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper – IPRSP (2016-2018); the Transitional Stabilisation Programme – TSP (2018-2020).

Past and present economic policies have failed to result in a structural transformation and diversification of the economy and they have also lacked a consistent pro-poor, decent-work rich and sustainable development framework that puts people at the centre. Even where growth has been achieved it has been insufficient to ensure significant poverty reduction and decent-work creation. Furthermore, the policies have been crafted without the much-needed broad-based participation of all key stakeholders, especially the working class and civil society. In particular, a major critique of past and the current government policy blueprint, the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), is that there were no effective consultations and dialogue with key stakeholders to reach a consensus and to achieve buy-in and support. The global consensus is that broad-based stakeholder participation in policy development is critical as it engenders national ownership. In fact, the major reason for policy stillbirth and failure in many countries is the lack of effective participation by the citizens and key stakeholders. Lack of effective participation has also eroded trust between the government and citizens which has weakened political and economic confidence.

Importantly, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to rethink the macroeconomic framework. An important lesson emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic is that strategic and smart state intervention is very critical. This necessitates the need for the reorientation of the State into a developmental welfare state. Countries with a strong developmental welfare orientation/model (such as Finland, Denmark, Norway) have been better able to deal with the pandemic. Developmental welfare states put people and their basic human rights at the centre of development. Therefore and importantly, our macroeconomic and development priorities must be based on the attainment of socio-economic rights through the adoption and implementation of a human rights approach to development that ring-fences expenditures in sectors such as agriculture, water, sanitation, health, education, infrastructure, employment-enhancement, well targeted cash transfers for households living in extreme poverty conditions such as child headed families, persons living with disability, the elderly, and the chronically ill to enable them to live a life of dignity.

Source: Labour and Economic Development Research Institute Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ)

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