By Bahle Gama
The government through the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development has developed a new National Development Plan (NDP) 2023/24- 2027/28 that will help in transforming the economy and people’s lives.
This is according to Chief Economist Sifiso Mamba who made a brief presentation about the NDP during the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework’s Joint National Steering Committee (JNSC) High-Level meeting held at Royal Villas.
Minister of Economic Planning and Development Dr Tambo Gina said the gathering was meant for stakeholders to share their common understanding of the challenges faced in implementing the UN Corporation Framework and to recommend solutions for improving the implementation.
“I, therefore, challenge all of you to think beyond the parameters of your institutional mandates and recommend solutions that will benefit the country,” he said in his opening remarks.
Themed “Good governance: the anchor for economic recovery, green growth, and sustainable livelihoods” the NDP looks into expected key results that will ensure contribution to the country’s economic growth through different sectors including curbing youth unemployment, improving access to safe water, life expectancy, and reduced poverty rates amongst others.
The Chief Economist stated that by 2027 most of these should be put in play.
“A growth strategy should have been developed by 2025 having a competitive private sector for product diversification to boost exports and create employment,” he said.
By 2027 government should have also achieved fiscal consolidation and cleared arrears, reduced poverty rates from 58.9 to 54 per cent, and youth unemployment from 58.2 to 30 per cent.
By the same year, access to safe water should have increased by 10 per cent annually and sanitation from 53 to 85 per cent by the end of the Plan period. Food and nutrition security is expected to have also increased by 10 per cent, life expectancy by 65.2 per cent, TVET enrolment by 40 per cent, and renewable shares by 50 per cent of the total energy mix.
On another note, by 2025 the country should have climate change integrated, strong institutions, and a Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) fund established to enhance disaster preparedness.
Mamba stated that the new NDP’s key priority areas include good governance, economic recovery fiscal stability, enhanced and dynamic private sector supporting sustainable and inclusive growth, enhanced social and human capital development, and sustainable livelihoods.
“We are looking into efficient public service delivery that respects human rights, justice and the rule of law, well-managed natural resources, environmental sustainability, disaster risk management, efficient economic infrastructure network, digital transformation, and innovation,” he said.
In terms of the risk analysis, Mamba presented that there will be political challenges with a high rating because of the dualistic nature of the governance system. And if the national dialogue is delayed could perpetuate a national division, “otherwise moderate if the dialogue is held”.
He further stated that at the macroeconomic level, fiscal indiscipline is identified as a big risk, with continued spending in areas not considered a priority, and the inability to raise financing for programmes.
“There is likely to be a high financing and land acquisitions delay for implementation of the public investment programme, corruption, money laundering, and cyber-attacks,” he said.
He added that the risk analysis also entails environmental mismanagement, pollution, climate change, and related hazards that present the biggest disaster risks.
Key priority areas include the following:
Good governance – stable political environment, zero tolerance for corruption, nation-building & sound macro-fiscal management.
Conducive business environment to attract investment including MSMEs, earn forex, create jobs, achieve growth
Transformation of agriculture into a productive, high value and market-oriented sector, also capable of providing food security
Comprehensive investments in human capital & social development for sustainable livelihoods – a healthy, educated & skilled nation, living without fear/deprivation
Invest in young people – empower the youth
Efficient, modern, productive, accountable, transparent, and honest public service
Improved management of the environment, climate change, disaster risk, and natural resources
Modern, quality, regularly maintained climate-proofed infrastructure. Secured supply of energy, water, and ICT
Strengthening planning and budgeting processes & systems. Investing in statistics, M & E