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FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube says Zimbabwe is on a path to economic recovery despite the threat by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the first quarter of the year, the country recorded a budget surplus of $9,8 billion on the back of continued fiscal consolidation measures and sustained macro-economic stability.

Riding on the successes of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP), which ended in December last year, Zimbabwe has managed to restore macro-economic stability amid growing domestic market confidence.

In an interview with Cable News Network (CNN) yesterday, Prof Ncube said:

“Basically, we are finding that we’re able to balance the budget, that’s what I have been doing in the last two years.

“Secondly, we have strong economic recovery where Zimbabwe will grow faster than its peers in the region and its peers in Africa.”

In order to cushion the country from the Covid-19 strain, Prof Ncube said the Government has come up with comprehensive measures to ensure business viability, including setting aside resources to procure vaccines with at least 2,5 million people earmarked for vaccination.

He said Zimbabwe was doing all it can to deal with the social impact of the pandemic.

“We have got a very robust social protection programme . . . first of all there is a productive social element in the agricultural sector where we give free inputs to citizens to farm and they have done very well,”

said the minister.

“They have produced about one million tonnes of maize. We’re also protecting the vulnerable rural areas through cash transfers and through free medication and the vaccine is free.”

According to the Second Round of Crop and Livestock Assessment Report for 2020/2021 season, Zimbabwe is estimated to produce 2,7 million tonnes of maize following the good rains the country received during the last cropping season. Zimbabwe requires 1,8 million tonnes of grain annually.

Prof Ncube also said the Government has a free robust social protection programme that also includes free schooling for vulnerable children.

“We believe that we have had the best response to the pandemic so far and our vaccination programme is very robust and well run,”

he said.

“We need to balance every time the need to save lives and the need to save livelihood.”

Prof Ncube said the country was under lockdown as part of efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic but noted that the reprieve for essential industries to continue operating was meant to ensure business sector continuity and preservation of economic gains.

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