GOVT WELCOMES MASIYIWA’S SANCTIONS CALL

TELECOMMUNICATIONS magnet and billionaire, Mr Strive Masiyiwa, has said President Emmerson Mnangagwa is sincere about turning the country’s fortunes while calling for the removal of sanctions imposed on the country by the West and its allies.

In an interview with CNBC Africa in South Africa, the Econet Wireless Zimbabwe founder said while it is going to be challenging for the country to achieve economic transformation, Zimbabwe needs to be given a chance.

“I have invested in Zimbabwe in the last ten years $ 1, 5 billion, I’m as committed to investing in Zimbabwe as always I have always been, come rain or shine but concerning the change that has taken place, I believe it is real, I believe President Mnangagwa is sincere in the things he wants to do,” said Mr Masiyiwa who has vast business interests in Africa and Europe.

“It is going to be extremely challenging, everybody knows that, anyone who understands economics knows it’s going to be tough going but I think Zimbabwe needs to be given a chance. We got to stop the politicking and focus on rebuilding this country and I’m right up there.

“I think for instance, that the sanctions should be removed, there is no justification for them anymore, they should be removed and I have always been on record to say the sanctions are not justified and now we are almost 20 years into the sanctions, you can’t have one country operating with its hands tied behind its back.”

The Government yesterday welcomed Mr Masiyiwa’s statements saying it was the duty of all Zimbabweans to rebrand the country.

“He is very correct and we are grateful that a son of Zimbabwe is giving the right message about his country. President Mnangagwa has created democratic space in the new Zimbabwe so that every Zimbabwean plays his or her role in the development of the country,” said Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

“It is the duty of every Zimbabwean to speak positively and rebrand their country and attract business so that we go back to our former glory days.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said President Mnangagwa has been consistent with his message of unity, re-engagement and opening up the country for business from the day of his inauguration in November last year and after this year’s elections when he won the country’s Presidency.

“It is through unity that we can achieve development and get the country to the level that we desire. It is not up to the Government and President Mnangagwa alone to champion the re-engagement drive and the rebranding of the country but also that of private citizens and the business community,” she said.

The Ministry also posted a clip of Mr Masiyiwa’s interview on Twitter and commented, “Government welcomes statements by @StriveMasiyiwa calling for the removal of sanctions imposed against the country. The country requires all the support it can get to create an environment that is conducive for the revitalisation of the economy #TSP#MiddleIncomeEconomy2030.”

The Government has already pitched and is implementing the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, aimed at transforming the economy between now and 2020 with a long term vision of creating an upper middle-class economy by 2030.

Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has implored Zimbabweans to brace for tough but corrective economic measures that might appear painful to some.

Under the blueprint, the Government is already undertaking a string of austerity measures aimed at addressing fiscal disequilibrium and enticing increased domestic and foreign direct investment.

Among the key initiatives is trimming Government expenditure to tame budget deficit, reforming state-owned enterprises, fighting corruption, widening the revenue base, strengthening use of the multiple-currency system among a cocktail of monetary policy reforms.

Mr Masiyiwa’s sentiments riled the opposition and its sympathisers who have been calling for the extension of sanctions in Zimbabwe after Mr Nelson Chamisa and his MDC Alliance’s dismal loss in the July 30 elections.

They took to Twitter to attack Mr Masiyiwa but the majority of users came to the defence of the business tycoon saying it was his democratic right to express his views.

The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Mr Ndavaningi (Nick) Mangwana also posted saying, “Mr @StriveMasiyiwa clearly understands the meaning of “National Interest.”

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