By Brenald Chinyowa
Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset) is the economic plan for the period of October 2013 - December 2018. The fundamental linchpin of this economic blue print is entrenched in result based management system (RBM). ZIM ASSET is there to ensure that the government is totally committed towards building a robust and sustainable results oriented culture, socio-economic growth and performance management culture. It is designed in form of a Matrix to ensure the institutionalization and mainstreaming of results based culture in the public sector in conformity with the Results Based Management System so as to boost productivity and service delivery. The state of the Zimbabwean productivity levels cannot be divorced from our fury tale and reflections of the past.
The phenomenon in Zimbabwe was characterized by a devastating hyper-inflation and a political predicament that reached its zenith with the electoral crisis of 2008, exacerbated by the imposition of illegal sanctions and the drought of 2008, followed by the dollarization of the economy in the same year and then now liquidity crunch of the economy. These chains of events has led to an probable fall in productivity at firm level, ascending up to the national productivity level, confirmed by the falling national gross domestic products (GDP) over the years from 2000, up to 2010. The enactment of the Zim Asset has showered some flickers of hope to the nation in its exertions to revive our battered economy with disheartening low productivity levels.
Productivity is the ratio of output to inputs in production; it is an average measure of the efficiency of production. Efficiency of production means production’s capability to create incomes which is measured by the formula real output value minus real input value. Increase in national productivity can raise living standards because more real income improves people's ability to purchase goods and services, enjoy leisure, improve housing and education and contribute to social and environmental programs. Productivity growth also helps businesses to be more profitable. Learning from the facets of the Zim Asset, productivity can be boosted in the country because;
There is a concept of performance based contracts which is raised in the economic blue print, hence companies can adopt this concept to boost productivity, the concept of performance based contracts entails that companies has to buy performance not transactional products. Therefore basing on the Zim Asset companies needs to have Productivity and Performance Based Contracts (PPBC) these are the ones that combines the performance-related benefits of a PBC with further initiatives to improve productivity and reduce the total cost over the longer term. A performance contract in and of it, will not produce on-going reductions in cost (although an initial change from a transactional set of arrangements to a performance contract can produce savings by re-designing the business processes and removing transaction-based administrative overheads).
Achieving performance outcomes and sharing in on-going productivity gains and other cost-reduction opportunities require additional contract components. Some Zimbabwean companies were not/ are not having Performance Based Contracts with their top management hence lack of creativity and innovative anchored development which the nation needs most at the moment to get out of our current economic iron cage. They also they lack clear cut business strategies which can transform these ailing organisations, which are losing they competitive advantage and a reduction of their productivity levels. Performance Based Contracts do away with the payment of hefty remuneration packages to CEOs who are not performing or the expense or productivity and service delivery, therefore the adoption of this notion of performance based contracts will undeniably increase the productivity all levels or it rather it is an “hygienic” (something that transform process to a level were productivity can easily be increased) factor.
Performance Based Contracts encourage employees to boost their productivity. When done to alacrity, fastidiousness and up to best standards it will motivate the employees to achieve particular outcomes, rather than simply performing individual activities or focusing on individual goals. Under this concept the employer has to pay the employees according to whether they meet pre-agreed targets usually measured by key performance areas/indicators. This aligns the employer and employees in such a way that, instead of an employee working to maximize his/her benefits in the expense of firm’s productivity and service delivery, both principal and contractor work together towards a common aftermath, that will build a sustainable productivity model such as Australia by government and the private sector they are a case of successfully integrated performance based contracting.
The Zim Asset aims to establish a Results Based Government that seeks to optimize utilization of scarce resources, allocated in order to reinforce the achievement of the indigenization, empowerment and employment creation agenda of the nation. The government is coming up with a vision and a mission for the country, to have an idea of where the country will be in the next five years. And this will enhance efficiency in planning and scarce resource. Optimum use of the scarce resources will lead to efficiency and this will make organisations to be productive and increase service delivery. When employees work without a clear mission and vision of where the organisation will be in the coming years will create confusion and mediocrity. When organizations operate without a vision of what they want to achieve will lead to unnecessary cost and misuse of funds.
Also this economic blue print acknowledges the existence of an global village, as it promotes increase of foreign direct investment, hence as companies there is need to braced up to compete in the global market and to meet the needs of the market, this automatically means companies has to beef up their production levels so as to meet the demand of the global village. However talking of increasing firm level productivity at this juncture it’s more of a thorn in the flesh if you take it at face value, but local companies has to partner with foreign investors, in support of the indigenization and empowerment stance of the government. But on this notion such moves must be taken with the agenda of development, constructive partnership and business ventures with international investors can be our messiah to boost our firm level productivity and competency in the global village.
To enhance success in such ventures the Zim Asset has raised the concept of transparency, accountability and responsibility that if upheld in it will boost production. If companies foster the gospel of transparency in their companies it will increase productivity ratio, at firm level. It argues that it is the issue of corruption, nepotism, and politicization of organisational affairs that was adversely affecting production and service delivery in Zimbabwe, hence if they are eradicated productivity will increase. The lesson being portrayed here is that where there is no transparency, accountability and responsibility productivity ratio and service delivery is compromised.
National Corporate governance framework will be launched and implemented resulting in the re-invention of government and private sector business to be more development oriented. Public institutions which survive through public funds has to be more accountable, transparent and be more development focused. It’s my prayer as well that the policy will do away with the erupting bad corporate governance practices which have be permissible through precedence, such practices may include though not limited to the payment of astronomical remuneration packages for the executives some reaching 200 to 300 thousands per month, at the expense of national development. If these funds are channeled to boost productivity capacity which is a challenge to those institutions it will eventually became a panacea to our own phenomenon.
If this policy is instigated with all sincerity and candid it will move our nation into another stage of development. But if the corruption and bad corporate governance escalate as well it will be rather a curse to our on nation. So for its success lest all say no to corruption, nepotism, favoritism, political indifference and bad corporate governance practices. As a nation we need to bury our sectorial differences and sit down with joined hands on a round table with the nation at heart. It might not be an easy road for us, but as Zimbabweans let’s try to inherit the spirit if the Chinese to endure pain for a while and enjoy the benefits later. When I read P W Botha’s statement when he said, ‘Let us all accept that the Blackman is a symbol of poverty, mental inferiority, laziness and emotional incompetence and do not think more than a year’, I fumed and said I would like to meet this guy a prove him wrong why don’t you join me and claim the ownership of our national development agenda.
Brenald Chinyowa writes on his own capacity, for comments inbox to firstname.lastname@example.org (0777 897 586) 0715 764 862. Blog: profbrenald.blogspot.com or follow him on Facebook: Professor-Brenald Chinyowa.