by Grace Chekai
President Emmerson Mnangagwa today delivered the State of Nation Address (SONA) and officially opened the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe.
Due to Covid 19, the twin occasions were done virtually.
The President assured the nation that normalcy is beginning to take its course gradually following the outbreak of the highly contagious Covid-19 virus.
Speaking during the State of the Nation Address and Official Opening of the Third Session of the Ninth Parliament of Zimbabwe today, President Mnangagwa said, "Normalcy is gradually being restored to our systems, following the Covid-19 pandemic. However, I appeal to us to carry on adhering to the World Health Organization guidelines to consolidate the gains we have so far achieved.”
President Mnangagwa said that so far the Government had re-opened the domestic and international flights.
"We have now re-opened our skies to domestic and international flights, and simultaneously allowed the tourism and other critical sectors to also re-open," said the President.
He said Government has re-opened schools to enable children to complete their academic year and progress to the next grades.
"Government made a deliberate decision to re-open schools to enable our children, who constitute our rich future human resource endowment, to conclude the year and progress to the next grades in the coming year.
"We will redouble efforts to ensure that syllabi are completed and examinations proceed smoothly, in a safe, secure and stable environment, for both teachers and learners," said the President.
President took the opportunity to highlight the progress of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
"Our Transitional Stabilisation Programme has delivered and there are causes of optimism. My Government is indeed encouraged by the current economic stability, evident since the launch of the foreign exchange auction system in June.
"The system has resulted in the stability of the foreign exchange rate as well as the prices of our goods and services,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said Government availed ZWL $18 billion Stimulus Package for the productive sectors, vulnerable social groups, and provision of public services, especially health, water and sanitation in order to mitigate the negative impact of the Covid-19.
He said that in spite of the global and economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, exports increased by 4.9 percent to US $1.96 billion during the first half of 2020, from US $1.86 billion in 2019, for the comparative period.
President Mnangagwa further said that imports declined by 5.9 percent, from US $1.96 billion to US $1.84 billion during the 2019 and 2020 first half comparative periods, respectively.
He added that the Reform of State Enterprises and Parastatals remained a priority as the country revisit the strategic importance of these entities in line with Vision 2030.
He said that Government would soon launch the First Five-Year National Development Strategy:2021-2025 (NDS 1),which builds on the successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.
President Mnangagwa said the signing of the Global Compensation Agreement reaffirmed the irreversibility of the Land Reform Programme and further symbolized Government's commitment to the entrenchment of constitutionalism, the rule of law and respect for property rights.
He said everyone must ensure production and productivity to the land adding that the Meteorological Department forecasted a normal to-above normal 2020/2021 rainfall season
President Mnangagwa said energy remained an essential enabler for the realisation of mordenisation and industrialisation agenda. He added that the current stability in power supplies owing to improved hydro-power generation at Kariba Dam and increased energy output at the thermal power plants has had a positive impact on productivity across all sectors of the economy.
President Mnangagwa also reminded the nation that as Zimbabweans, Zimbabwe is their home and motherland and must work together in achieving its plans and Vision.
"I wish to remind us all that first and foremost, we are Zimbabweans. This is our only hole and motherland.
"We are on a new path. A path towards a modern, prosperous and stronger Zimbabwe. I encourage you all to be partners in this journey. Let us be decisive, deliberate, purposeful and thorough in all our actions," said President Mnangagwa.