Upper middle-income economy agenda 2030: Are we not inviting trouble? By Newsday – October 23, 2018

HE government’s neoliberal agenda and its target for the upper middle-income economy (UMIE) by 2030, if not handled well, might present us with many challenges that will further alienate and suffocate the poor and down-trodden.

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/10/upper-middle-income-economy-agenda-2030-are-we-not-inviting-trouble/

guest column Michael Ndiweni

For the benefit of those who may not have read about it, the precursor to this agenda is the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) Reform Agenda from October 2018 – December 2020 under the theme “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030”.

The transitional stabilisation programme focuses on; stabilising the macro-economy and the financial sector, introducing the necessary policy and institutional reforms, to transform to a private sector-led economy, addressing infrastructure gaps and launching quick-wins to stimulate growth.

So Zimbabwe is seeking to move from what appears to be a low-income economy, which has a Gross National Income per capita of $995 or less in 2017 (Word Bank Atlas Method), to upper middle-income economy with a Gross National Income (GPI) per capita of between $3 896 and $12 055. In the world so far, there are 58 countries falling in this category.

Implications of the neo-liberal agenda

In 2017, 51% of all humanitarian funds were requested by the United Nations for crises in middle income countries (UNOCHA, 2017). Thus upper middle income economies seem to have more problems and a widening gap between the rich and poor.

For example, upper middle income countries that have wider gap between rich and poor; closer home, is the Republic of South Africa that stands out as one of the most unequal countries in the world. In 2014, the top 10% received 2/3 of national income, while the top 1% received 20% of national income (World Inequality Index 2014).

Namibia is another country that can be explored to demonstrate dangers of moving to upper middle income economy.

Outside the African continent, Brazil is another example whose income distribution has remained extremely unequal over the last 15 years, with the top 10% receiving over 55% of total income in 2015.

Based on the above, a number of questions arise, that is; Is it what we want as a country and were the citizens consulted in coming up with this economic reform agenda?

 

Many of the citizens heard about the upper middle-income economy agenda 2030 when Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube was addressing potential investors in Washington DC.

Is it the best model for our economic development, are there no other pro-poor alternatives besides going the route that appears will create problems for us?

To put these questions into perspective, World Bank (2017) notes that five billion of the world’s seven billion people and 73% of the world’s poor live in middle-income countries.

In my Ndebele language, we would say under these circumstances “LLokhu yikuzidonsela amanzi ngomsele”, meaning we are inviting problems for ourselves.

The possible problems of this economic reform agenda to the poor are;

  •  There is a likelihood that there will be displacement of people to create space for investors, particularly those in the extractives.
  • There is a likelihood of the re-introduction of modern day slavery through tax holidays and low wages.
  •  Exclusion of part of the population from the benefits of economic growth, no trickle-down effect as it seems to focus on gross national income per capita than social indicators and use of the genuine progress indicator.
  •  Corrupt tendencies on tender processes and kickbacks, particularly to those who will “facilitate” business deals for investors.
  •  Ridiculous taxation on ordinary citizens like the intermediary money transfer tax of two cents per dollar and sin tax, among others.
  • High cost of living since many public goods will be privatised as defined by the neo- liberal agenda. Government has already given some State-owned enterprises deadline to conclude their privatisation strategies.
  •  Domestic debt will continue increasing and burden the future unless the country is classified under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and get special assistance from the Bretton Words institutions.
    In my view, as a country we;
  • Need to have efficient wealth distribution and pro-poor policies.
  •  Need to have effective civil society to hold government to account.
  •  We need to have participatory planning and inclusivity of all citizens.
  •  We need to have strong institutions that combat corruption and government excesses.
  •  We need to have local resource mobilisation
  • We need to have community, private, public partnerships.
  •  We need to revitalise trade unions.
  •  We need to remodel our corporate social responsibility
  •  Need austerity measures focusing mainly on profligate government expenditure.
Advertisements

ILO’s way out  from rural informality

ILO’s way out  from rural informality

ILO is making strides in finding a way out on rural informality, one of the courses at the Academy on Transition from Informal Economy to Formality is proffering strategies that can be employed for rural formalization by member states. The course is interrogating conceptual linkages between rural economy and transition to formality.

It is asking key questions on why rural economy matters, how informality manifests in rural setting and states the vulnerable groups in rural economy. The possible avenues to promote rural formalization with local development strategies includes public employment programmes, sectoral approach on agribusiness and application of new technologies.

At the global level, persons living in rural areas (80%) are twice as likely to be in informal employment as those in urban areas (43.7 per cent).  The ILO Recommendation 204 states the need to pay special attention to those who are especially vulnerable to the most serious decent work deficits in the informal economy. This includes women, young people, migrants, older people, and indigenous subsistence farmers among others.

Specific drivers of rural informality range from;

  • Neglect and biases against rural areas especially in developing countries ,
  • Low public spending in rural areas, poor infrastructure,
  • Low levels of social services,
  • Weak governance and limited industrial activity,
  • Remoteness and isolation,
  • Exclusion of rural workers from labour law.
  • Underutilization of assets both human and capital, Insecure property rights
  • Weak contract enforcement.
  • Poor access to financial services.
  • Weak labour market institutions and social security systems.
  • Various forms of discrimination on gender and ethnicity.
  • Insufficient access to information and knowledge.

The ILO Academy on Transition from Informal Economy suggests a number of pathways for enhancing Social Protection and Social Dialogue. For social dialogue there is need to;

  • Create local development frameworks and action strategy plans at the municipal and village levels to translate national initiatives to actionable elements for local government and civil society organizations
  • Work with specialized agencies (e.g. government, donor) to providing technical guidance in creation local level social protection and security initiatives (e.g. employment guarantees) that are inclusive of the informal economy.
  • Carryout local level advocacy to employers the economic and social dividends that result from investing into workers’ occupational safety and health standards.

In ensuring Social Dialogue and rights, there is need to;

  • Improve policy cohesion between national and local government policy through local development frameworks
  • Strengthen organization and voice and establishing social dialogue platforms
  • Strengthen community based organizations’ ability to engage
  • Improve the quality of public-private forums and partnerships
  • Support and strengthen coordination activities between local economic actors
  • Mainstream women, minority, indigenous people, and other marginalized groups into the participation process Upholding the fundamental principles and rights at work

In order to achieve rural formalization, member states must;

  • Improve local government policies and fiscal space to allow for greater inward investments.
  • Increase the number of employment-intensive creation and maintenance projects to create jobs and supportive infrastructure
  • Strengthen the capacity and opportunities of informal workers by enhancing local public services, e.g vocational centres’, employment offices
  • Increase linkages between formal and informal economy firms
  • Map of the local economic strength and opportunities.
  • Promote local-level business environment reform.
  • Open access to productive resources.

Zimbabwe Upper Middle Income Economy Agenda 2030, – Are we not inviting trouble for our country

The government’s neoliberal agenda and its target for the Upper Middle Income Economy (UMIE) by 2030 if not handled well might present us with many challenges that will further alienate and suffocate the poor and down trodden. For the benefit of those who may not have read about it, the precursor to this agenda is the Transitional  Stabilisation Programme (TSP) Reform  Agenda from  October 2018 – December 2020  under the theme “ Towards a Prosperous & Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030” The Transitional Stabilisation Programme focuses  on; stabilising the macro-economy, and the financial sector, introducing necessary policy, and institutional reforms, to transform to a private sector led economy, addressing infrastructure gaps and  launching quick-wins to stimulate growth.

So Zimbabwe is seeking to move from what appears to be Low-Income Economy  which has a  Gross NationaI  Income per capita of $995 or less in 2017 (Word Bank Atlas Method) to Upper Middle-Income Economy  with a Gross National Income (GPI)  per capita between $3,896 and $12,055. In the world so far there are 58 countries falling us this category.

Implications of the neo liberal agenda  

In 2017, 51% of all humanitarian funds were requested by the United Nations for crises in Middle Income countries (UNOCHA, 2017). Thus Upper Middle Income Economies seem to have more problems and a widening gap between the rich and poor. For example Upper Middle Income Countries that have wider gap between rich and poor; closer home is the republic of South Africa that stands out as one of the most unequal countries in the world. In 2014, the top 10% received 2/3 of national income, while the top 1% received 20% of national income (World Inequality Index 2014). Namibia is another country that can be explored to demonstrate dangers of moving to Upper Middle Income Economy. Outside the African continent, Brazil  is another example whose income distribution has remained extremely unequal over the last 15 years, with the top 10% receiving over 55% of total income in 2015.

Based on the above, a number of questions arise i.e.  Is it what we want as a country, were the citizens consulted in coming up with this economic reform agenda. Many of the citizens heard about the Upper Middle Income Economy Agenda 2030 when the Finance and Economic Development Minister was addressing potential investors in Washington DC.  Is it the best model for our economic development, are there no other pro – poor alternatives besides going the route that appears will create problems for us.  To put these questions into perspective, World Band (2017), notes that five billion of the world’s seven billion people and 73% of the world’s POOR live in middle-income countries. In my Ndebele language we would say under these circumstances “LLokhu yikuzidonsela amanzi ngomsele” meaning we are inviting problems for ourselves, has current setup failed us?

The possible problems of this economic reform agenda to the poor;

  • There is a likelihood that there will be displacement of people to create space for investors particularly those in the extractives.
  • There is a likelihood of re- introduction of modern day slavery through tax holidays and low wages.
  • Exclusion of part of the population from the benefits of economic growth, no trickledown effect as it seems to focus on Gross National Income per Capita than Social Indicators and use of the Genuine Progress Indicator.
  • Corrupt tendencies on tender processes and kickbacks particularly to those who will “facilitate” business deals for investors.
  • Ridiculous taxation on ordinary citizens like the Intermediary Money Transfer Tax of 2 cents & Sin Tax among others.
  • High cost of living since many public goods will be privatised as defined by the neo- liberal agenda. Government has already given some State Owned Enterprises deadline to conclude their privatisation strategies.
  • Domestic debt will continue increasing and burden the future unless the country is classified under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and get special assistance from the Bretton Words institutions.

 

In my view as a country we need to;

  • Need to have Efficient Wealth Distribution pro- poor policies.
  • Effective Civil Society to hold government to account.
  • Participatory planning and inclusivity of all citizens.
  • Strong institutions that combat corruption and government excesses.
  • Local resource mobilisation
  • Community, Private, Public Partnerships.
  • Revitalising Trade Unions.
  • Re- modelling Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Austerity measures focusing mainly on profligate government expenditure.

Michael Ndiweni is the Executive Director for Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association , media scholar, also a Freelance journalist, he writes in his own capacity.

Can be contact on twitter @mdladlaspeaks.

Sympathy Vote favours Dr Khuphe in Zimbabwe 2018 polls

 

download

The Zimbabwean forthcoming elections slated for the 30th of July 2018 presents presidential candidates with different prospects, one of the key issues that politicians, key board political warriors aka Social Media activists and political pundits ignore is the Sympathy Vote.

A Sympathy Vote entails an occasion when a lot of people vote for or support a particular person because he or she has suffered recently on her/his struggles with abuse.

For example a tragic death of a political candidate in the midst of a campaign. The concept of the Sympathy Vote suggests that media coverage of the tragedy and the unification of public opinion carry the party of the deceased to victory on Election Day. Thus the MDC T party stood a better chance to benefit from a Sympathy Vote after the demise of its founding leader Dr Morgan Richard Tsvangirai before its fights escalated leading to Dr Thokozani Khuphe holding her extra ordinary  congress after the MDC T National Executive Council controversially endorsed Advocate Nelson Chamisa to be the interim president until congress.

It is also important to point that in this concept that the emotional dynamics of public opinion may not be so simple and binary but complex. Researchers have argued that the relationship between emotion and candidate support hinges largely on behavioural expectations of those that remain entrusted with the duty to fulfil the mandate and also how the media covers all the processes that ensures after the death of the candidate.

In light of the ugly scenes witnessed in Buhera during the burial of Morgan Tsvangirai where the MDC T Vanguard militia harassed Dr Khuphe and nearly set the hut that she and other officials have taken refuge in set in motion negative coverage by the media. Thus according to the Sympathy Vote concept if messages violate expectations, media will focus on controversy leading to a dissipation of the sympathy effect in public opinion.

One can therefore deduce that for now the Sympathy Vote flies in the face of MDC T faction led by Advocate Nelson Chamisa who now heads MDC Alliance and has eluded them because sustained coverage of ugly scenes and debauchery witnessed also in Bulawayo and continuous reports of imposition of candidates, threats of shootings and fights within rank and file of the faction. As bitter as it is to swallow for now the biggest beneficiary of the Sympathy Vote is the faction led by Dr Khuphe whom the media has largely pointed to be the victim of the MDC T internal fights, her cause has been further strengthened by sexism undertones that the public has deducted from utterances made by her erstwhile compatriot Advocate Nelson Chamisa in some platforms here and abroad.

Observers must not also ignore the fact that the ZANU PF candidate stands to benefit from the Sympathy Vote, one as a victim of former president Robert Gabriel Mugabe political shenanigans, secondly as he appears to be “messiah: who served Zimbabweans from facing 39 years of Mugabe’s rule albeit being propped by the military to ascend to presidency in November 2017. The disappearance of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in the highways who seemingly thrived on milking Zimbabweans their hard earned money, semblance of new found freedoms such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and aura of hope that has been restored post military assisted transition, opening of operating space for Civil Society to carry its functions within communities seem to tilt the Sympathy Vote also to ZANU PF candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa. Sadly the populace seem to forget that the ZANU PF candidate is accused of being the hand that implemented Gukurahundi Genocide under the instruction of former president Robert Mugabe that left over 20000 people dead according to conservative estimates from CCJP.  MDC Alliance candidate Advocate Nelson Chamisa is the biggest loser of the Sympathy Vote due his seemingly reckless statements, coupled with accusations of peddling lies in his addresses.

The Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) also stands to benefit from Sympathy Vote from Matabeleland region, their determined campaign to demand closure on Gukurahundi, their sustained media messages on economic exclusion of the people from Matabeleland is a shot in the arm for them to get the Sympathy Vote. Protests against President Emmerson  Mnangagwa at Zimbabwe International  Trade Fair  (ZITF) and the subsequent arrests of their 8 activists,  protests at the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) outreach meetings also presents them with an opportunity to get the Sympathy Vote

Lastly, it can be concluded that the biggest beneficiary of the Sympathy Vote in the opposition will be MDC T faction led by Dr Thokozani Khuphe assuming the courts rule in her favour, if not that vote will certainly go to Dr Nkosana Moyo, who could spring a surprise on middle class vote and assimilate the Sympathy Vote. Emmerson Mnangagwa shall also benefit from the Sympathy Vote based of his perceived role to have untangled Zimbabweans from Robert Mugabe’s bondage. More investigations must be done to get an elaborate picture on Sympathy Vote, its nexus with public opinion created by the media.

Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

Email: mikejnrsind82@gmail.com

By Michael Mdladla Ndiweni

Thumbs up for Elton Mangoma’s letter of FAME

Normal
0

false
false
false

EN-US
X-NONE
X-NONE

/* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
mso-style-noshow:yes;
mso-style-priority:99;
mso-style-qformat:yes;
mso-style-parent:””;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-para-margin-top:0in;
mso-para-margin-right:0in;
mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt;
mso-para-margin-left:0in;
line-height:115%;
mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
font-size:11.0pt;
font-family:”Calibri”,”sans-serif”;
mso-ascii-font-family:Calibri;
mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-fareast-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast;
mso-hansi-font-family:Calibri;
mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;
mso-bidi-font-family:”Times New Roman”;
mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;}

The letter allegedly written by Elton Mangoma MDC T Deputy Treasurer General to MDC T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is a letter of FAME to some people in the society rather belittling it to a letter SHAME as some sections of the society want people to believe. Thumbs up to Elton Mangoma for saying the truth that if it is him who allegedly penned the letter, you are a true selfless and fearless democrat, you said the truth without fear and favor no matter how spin doctors try to scream, jump and kick but you nailed it.

 It is disgusting that whenever one dares to challenge the MDC T leadership  is labeled a ZANU PF project sent to derail the “people`s project”. Let them label you an agent of the certain individuals and some Western organizations but the future will exonerate you.  It is true that your party also needs leadership renewal. It is not criminal and it is your democratic right to express yourself freely  as espoused in the new charter section 61 subsection (1) a,  You are a brave leader. You have done an alien thing that has surprised most boot lickers, hero worshippers  and democratic pretenders, you brought the issue of leadership  renewal to public domain  for debate so that ordinary  people and party members make informed decision when they go to the congress to chose the next party leader.

 Zimbabweans must develop a culture that  acknowledges  that every person has right to express their opinion and if they have ambitions to lead they must not ask or beg for permission from anyone in order to do so. The gentlemen is right Tsvangirai has also overstayed 14 years is too much, a new trajectory is required now if MDC T is serious about winning the 2018 elections.  Mangoma you have refused to be part of hypocrites who creates semi gods from political leaders. If there were awards you deserve one for your push for a true democratic change where people are not persecuted or killed for expressing their views and even letting the public know through writing their opinions. Some sections of the society salute you for your bravery. People can insult you but the truth is out there now they cannot do anything about it. They may threaten to remove you from office for uttering the truth but your legacy of saying the truth will live on, actually what you said is the truth you just narrated it on paper so that people meditate on it.