Association of Apostolic Churches in Zimbabwe (AACZ) president Bishop Tsungai Vushe says there is a need for Government to unveil a fund to capacitate various projects being undertaken by sect members as well as enhancing their participation in various economic sectors to enable them to effectively participate in the turning around of the country’s economy.
He said the economic inclusion of Apostolic sect members was pivotal in Government’s efforts of turning around the country’s economy.
“As members of Apostolic sects, we feel our economic inclusion might be of importance towards Government’s concerted efforts of turning around the country’s economy. Our industriousness, workmanship and astute business practices are known to all and sundry since time immemorial. In a nutshell we are pioneers of home industries and informal trade, which has seen most of our members improving their livelihoods and contributing immensely to the country’s economy,” said Bishop Vushe.
Economic inclusion refers to equality of opportunity for all members of society to participate in the economic life of their country as employers, entrepreneurs, consumers and citizens.
Throughout Zimbabwe, several Apostolic followers across the different denominational faiths eke out a living in informal trade and crafts.
The trade, manufacturing of aluminium pots, pans and tins, is synonymous with the various Apostolic sects.
“A number of our members are now struggling to operate their enterprises viably due to a myriad of economic challenges prevailing in the country and as such it is our plea to Government to come up with a flexible loan facility, which will specifically cater for our members as our business acumen is undoubtable. This will definitely stimulate economic growth and reduce levels of unemployment,” said Bishop Vushe.
He further said there was also a need for Government to involve Apostolic members in productive primary economic sectors such as agriculture and mining.
“There is a need for Government to actively engage our members in productive activities and help them realise their full economic potential. As indigenous churches there is definitely a need for us to be given opportunities to venture into agriculture and mining and as such Government should allocate us land for farming purposes as well as gold and chrome mining claims as it has done before to other groups in society,” said Bishop Vushe.
Over the years Government has allocated land for agricultural purposes and mining claims to vulnerable groups in society in the form of youths, women and war veterans as part of its efforts of ensuring their participation in the economic life of their country.
Agriculture contributes approximately 17 percent to Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Production (GDP) while the mining industry weighs in with approximately eight percent.
“We are quite aware that the two sectors (agriculture and mining) are the biggest contributors to the country’s GDP but we believe we can play a significant part in improving production in both sectors. Since Zimbabwe is basically an agro-based economy there is a need to effectively utilise the land at our disposal for extensive agricultural production. In the same vein we should also harness or extract the vast mineral resources for the benefit of the country and due our religious ethos chances of side marketing are very limited,” said Bishop Vushe.
AACZ is a grouping of Apostolic churches with a membership of 410 denominations.