by Staff Reporter
HARARE-THE Zimbabwe government, which is presiding over a collapsing economy and is struggling to pay its bloated civil service, says it will shortly be recruiting regional economists to promote its much-noised Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZimAsset) economic blueprint at provincial levels.
Simon Khaya Moyo announced recently that his Economic Planning and Investment Promotion ministry had ordered the Public Service Commission to recruit an undisclosed number of economists to sell the ZimAsset programme at provincial and district levels.
“The government, through the ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, has introduced the concept of regional economists in all provinces of the country to promote regional investments,” said Khaya-Moyo. “
“The regional economists will spearhead development planning and assist in the resuscitation of development structures in the provinces and districts. These officers will be stationed in the provinces and promote regional planning and regional investment initiatives. Resident ministers and provincial staff will benefit from the expertise of these officers in investments.”
Ironically, these “Resident ministers” are not legal government structures as they are not provided for under the constitution but where established illegally by President Mugabe to by-pass the provincial governments which are supposed to be controlled by whichever party commanded a majority vote at local level in the last elections. The opposition won a majority vote in many urban centres and in the Matabeleland provinces.
Most of these recruitments are primarily done to create jobs for members of ZANU-PF, a majority of whom are recruited as “Youth Officers”.
A 2009 audit revealed that of the 315 000 workers on the government’s payroll, about 75 000 were ghost workers. The civil service has since nearly doubled to the present figure of 550 000.
ZimAsset, a highly ambitious economic blueprint that was crafted by ZANU-PF government in 2013 as part of its election campaign initiative, has been dismissed by economists as another of President Robert Mugabe’s many stillborn economic programmes. Under the programme it was promised that 2.2 million new jobs would be created, by in the first two of the five years (2013-2018) it is supposed to run, tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as companies close.
Meanwhile Ambassador Moyo, who was giving a lecture at the National Defence College in Harare Friday said corruption remains one of the biggest threats to the attainment of goals as defined in the ZIM ASSET blue print.