Devolution to speed up development in remote areas, ministers says

Monicah Mavhunga

DEVOLUTION will speed up development in some of the remote parts of the country through establishing resort towns, construction of airports, universities and tobacco auction floors as there are vast investment opportunities in these areas, provincial affairs ministers have said.

Speaking during a webinar hosted by The Financial Gazette yesterday on Creating Provincial Hubs Through Economic Devolution, ministers from the country’s 10 provinces were unanimous that devolution was the way to go.

“There has been a lot of talk to make Kanyemba a resort town. This comes with opportunities for tourism and agriculture.

“We also have oil and gas in Muzarabani, which is going to be a game changer in our province and we are looking at value addition of the two products.

“We are within the greenbelt areas of the country and agriculture is a key activity. Agriculture brings a lot of opportunities in terms of value addition, it is an opportunity for the province to develop.

“It is also very rich in terms of mining and there are lots of gold deposits in the province. Some of the mines have closed, but there is an opportunity to partner through joint ventures and reopen some of the mines,” minister of State for Mashonaland Central, Monicah Mavhunga, said.

The government this year allocated $19,5 billion for devolution as it moves towards empowering local communities.

Matabeleland South provincial development coordinator Latiso Dhlamini, who appeared on behalf of minister Abednico Ncube, said building an airport in the province would improve investors’ access to the area, which has a wealth of mineral deposits.

Zimbabwe currently has eight airports — Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Victoria Falls and Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo international airports, and Masvingo, Hwange, Kariba, Charles Prince and Buffalo Range regional airports.

Dhlamini also said  the province was seeking to establish an airport in Gwanda and abattoirs to serve people and investors who visit the area.

“We have a highly diversified mineral base … endowed with … lithium, tungsten, asbestos and gold, and we feel that if we get good investors we will be able to ensure that we establish mineral value addition and beneficiation … a gold service centre to increase populace income generation and are hopeful this investment drive will definitely attract investors,” Dhlamini said.

For Harare and Matabeleland North, investment in the conservation of water, was a topical issue which the respective provincial ministers said had a direct impact on the welfare of the people.

Minister for Harare Oliver Chidawu said investing in the completion of Kunzvi Dam would ease the city’s water crisis.

“With Kunzvi, we are talking of about a 700 cubic metres dam. Demand in Harare right now is 1 200 cubic metres  a day and we are currently pumping 500 cubic metres,  the balance of that, if Kunzvi is done, will cover that,” Chidawu said.

His Matabeleland North counterpart Richard Moyo said that to enhance food security, there was need for adequate water reservoir facilities, adding that partnerships were being sought for the development of the Gwayi-Shangani, Inyathi and Ziminya dams in the prov