PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday challenged the Presidential Advisory Council (PAC) to urgently get down to business and come up with solutions to a number of ills facing the country.
Speaking at the inaugural PAC meeting at State House, Mnangagwa said although Zimbabwe was reeling under the yoke of sanctions, mainly from the United States and European Union, it was imperative that solutions were found to boost the economy and attain Vision 2030 of making Zimbabwe a middle-income economy.
The country is under the spotlight over a number of issues, among them the leadership’s unfulfilled reform promises, worsening economic situation, human rights abuses and the high costs of living beyond the reach of the poor majority.
“Our country continues to suffer from the deleterious effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on us by the United States of America and the European Union,” Mnangagwa said.
“As a result, there is need for us to leapfrog the development, modernisation and industrialisation of every facet of our economy so that we catch up with other countries in the region and beyond.
“Going forward, there is also need for us to harness our potential in the various spheres of the economy through leveraging on our geo-strategic location to attract investment and facilitate trade across the region.”
Mnangagwa said it was through a collective, patriotic approach and singleness of purpose that all can contribute towards the revival of the country.
He said the world over, people should operate in a more interconnected and complex environment. There was also the rising need for greater involvement of the private players in the governance and policy discourse that he chose 26 people of diverse backgrounds to serve in the PAC.
“It is against this background that I saw it fit to constitute a Presidential Advisory Council. You are a team of experts and leaders from across a broad spectrum of professional skills to proffer strategic advice, guidance, information and recommendations on policies that support goals under Vision 2030.”
Mnangagwa added that the engagement and re-engagement policy, stabilisation of the macro-economic environment, zero tolerance to corruption, observance of the rule of law, entrenchment of democratic values and the implementation of devolution must improve the economic situation of the country.
He also urged PAC to give recommendations that will benefit the majority and ensure that the economy moves out of its current poor state.
“The present challenges must never obscure or limit what we can become or what we should do now and in the future. I challenge you to be informed by the hope of a better and more prosperous tomorrow,” Mnangagwa said.
The President said his doors and that of government officials will be open and receptive to ideas coming from PAC, which critics have called a “mini-Cabinet”.