Blessings Chidakwa and Sallomy Matare
Rural District Councils have been challenged to shift their focus from only grading gravel and earth roads to tarring at least a kilometre per year as they aim to create a conducive environment for rural investment.
In his welcome remarks at the third Rural District Councils chairpersons’ indaba in Victoria Falls, Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe chief executive Dr Isaac Matsilele said this was in line with President Mnangagwa’s vision to create a middle income economy by 2030.
“Let’s move a step further from the tradition of just grading our gravel and earth roads, year in year out, lets tar our networks, a kilometre at a time to create a conducive environment for rural investment to achieve a middle income economy by 2030,” he said.
Dr Matsilele said RDC’s should appreciate the good works President Mnangagwa he has been doing to uplift rural areas since he assumed office.
“His Excellency is a listening President, let’s be free to raise our concerns and also acknowledge the good works he is doing such as the release of the five percent fiscal transfer to local authorities, among other issues,” he said.
Dr Matsilele said this year’s theme ‘Rural local authorities gearing up for the attainment of an upper middle-income society by 2030’ resonates with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) and Vision 2030 of attaining an upper middle income status.
“An upper middle income demands significant improvements in the standard of living and quality of life depends on the quality of services that are offered by the local authorities.
“Therefore, the socio-economic performance of the country is best depicted by our collective performance,” he said.
Dr Matsilele said economic development at local level was a responsibility of local authorities.
“It is our role at district level to provide employment opportunities, especially at business centres and assist in reducing rural migration to the larger urban centres,” he said. Dr Matsilele said RDC’s should not lose sight of the fact that planning at the local level was their full responsibility.