BY FARAI MATIASHE
Government has approved the ratification of the Eastern and Southern Africa-United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (ESA-UK) economic partnership agreement aimed at maintaining access to the UK market by Zimbabwe and other countries.
Speaking at a post-Cabinet briefing in Harare yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said under the agreement, the UK would grant duty-free and quota-free market access for all goods exported by the ESA countries to the UK, except for arms and ammunition.
“Following presentation by the Attorney-General, Cabinet approved ratification of the Eastern and Southern Africa-United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland economic partnership agreement. The agreement seeks to ensure the maintenance of existing market access to the UK by ESA Signatory States, which comprise Zimbabwe, the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zambia,” she said.
“In terms of the agreement, the UK will grant duty-free and quota-free market access for all goods exported by the ESA countries to the UK, except for arms and ammunition. On their part, the ESA States will continue to gradually liberalise 80% of their trade imports from the UK covering capital, raw materials and intermediate goods up to 2022.”
Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwean products to be excluded from the liberalisation process include products of animal origin, cereals, beverages, paper, plastics and rubber, textiles and clothing, footwear, glass and ceramics, consumer electronics and vehicles.
She said Cabinet was briefed by the Information Communication Technology minister Kazembe Kazembe regarding migration to the holding of e-enabled paperless Cabinet meetings as well as the introduction of the Executive Electronic Dashboard to monitor the implementation of priority government programmes in real time.
“These two innovations are part of the broader e-government programme, which seeks to transform Zimbabwe into a digital and knowledge-driven society in line with Vision 2030. In terms of the progress already made, it is projected that Cabinet meetings will go paperless by early February 2020,” she said.
In preparation for the Executive Electronic Dashboard Monitoring System, Cabinet members have been issued with the relevant tablets which will be used by the Presidency, government ministers and senior government officials to track progress of government programmes by ministries and government agencies in keeping with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s clarion call to prioritise implementation of policies.
She said Cabinet had approved a memorandum of understanding between the government and We Care Solar, a non-governmental organisation registered in the United States aimed at reducing maternal mortality rate through providing power at hospitals around the country at a time the country is facing power shortages.