Sanctions Taking Toll On Zimbabwe: Mugabe

The Zimbabwean government was doing all it could to revive the economy, but the sanctions imposed on the Southern African nation by the United States of America and the European Union were taking their toll, President Robert Mugabe said on Monday.

“Some improvements are taking place across the country. Let me also acknowledge the African Development Bank has been of help to us and is assisting us with various projects, especially as

the sanctions that have been imposed on us by the US are having their toll,” Mugabe said while addressing thousands gathered at the National Sports Stadium in Harare to mark the country’s Independence.

Mugabe said the country was strategically increasing trade with regional countries and was working at improving its doing business ratings.

“To increase international trade, Zimbabwe has also been making parallel efforts to boost exports, consolidating and expanding existing markets, while also exploring new markets with a strategic focus on the regional markets,” he said.

He said government was also working to buttress the country’s competitiveness through the doing business reforms program.

Mugabe also said the country was doing away with some pieces of legislation which made registration of companies difficult. “In an effort to facilitate trade, government has an efficiency management system whose aim is to promote trade facilitation and reduce congestion at the country’s border posts by encouraging efficient clearances by border authorities.”

He said the Beitbridge Border post would be transformed into a One-Stop Border Post, following the establishment and operationalisation of the Chirundu One-Stop Border Post in 2009.

The country’s “look east” policy, he said, had been boosted by the visit last December of the Chinese President, adding that the country would also embark on a debt clearance exercise in its quest to re-engage the international community.

Mugabe said his government was determined to translate political independence into meaningfulness by attending to the socio economic status of ordinary people.

Mugabe also promised to raise the salaries of civil servants to match the poverty datum line and apologised for the late payment of their salaries and pension pay-outs for pensioners.

“Government will continue to find ways of continuing to improve the welfare of civil servants. It is the desire of government that salaries progressively match the PDL. Government apologises for the late disbursement of salaries, bonuses and monthly pensions to pensioners, but be rest assured government is working flat out to improve the situation,” he said.

He said pension contributions which were now being made by workers would see payment of pensioners being more predictable and timeous.

On the el nino-induced drought that have severely affected harvests this season, Mugabe said government had taken necessary steps to prevent the starvation of people.