Provincial ministers speak on Zim-Asset
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
Major infrastructure development will drive the country’s economic growth over the next five years in line with the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset), with Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs prioritising this area in their agendas.
In separate interviews on Friday, Provincial Affairs Ministers said they hoped Government would fund fully Zim-Asset to improve the country’s infrastructural competitiveness.
However, some Provincial Affairs Ministers refused to divulge what infrastructure projects they were prioritising.
“First and foremost, infrastructure is key to any development in our province especially roads,” said Manicaland Minister of State for Provincial Affairs Christopher Mushohwe.
“Our roads need to be attended to especially the trunk ones. It’s our hope that Manicaland being a province where there are serious mining activities, we expect those miners to fulfil their corporate social responsibility by rehabilitating and constructing roads, schools and clinics among other social services.
“After all, those mining companies are the ones who transverse the area with heavy trucks, which destroy those roads.”
Minister Mushohwe said they wanted to see Treasury setting aside funds for construction of Manicaland University of Applied Sciences.
The university, he said, was relevant in the province since it was biased towards mining engineering courses taking into cognisance the fact that there were various mining activities in Manicaland.
He said they also wanted to see resuscitation of industries whose folding resulted in many people losing jobs and the country losing revenue.
Bulawayo Minister of State Eunice Sandi Moyo said water and electricity supply were some of their priority areas.
“We look forward to the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project and Mtshabezi pipeline project being prioritised so that Bulawayo can get consistent water supply.
“We also want to see resuscitation of industries that have closed down resulting in multitudes losing jobs. We want to see the National Railways of Zimbabwe coming back on board to transport coal and other stuff that are being transported using haulage trucks.
“We have hundreds of factories that have closed down and those buildings have since been turned into church venues. Those factories need to be recapacitated so that we can have our people back in employment,” she said.
Matabeleland North Minister Cain Mathema said there was a lot of construction that needed to be done in the province.
“Some of the target areas are construction of Lupane Provincial Hospital, completion of Lupane State University and Matabeleland North Government offices in Lupane.
“We also want to see the completion of widening and tarring of the road from Lupane to Kwekwe through Nkayi. Gwayi-Shangani and Bubi Dams must also be prioritised because they will supply water to the whole of the province and Bulawayo,” said Minister Mathema.
Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister Jaison Machaya referred questions to the Provincial Administrator Ms Cecilia Chitiyo. Ms Chitiyo said food sustainability and roads rehabilitation were their key priorities.
“Infrastructure development is our key priority especially around roads and bridges rehabilitation. We also have districts that are drought stricken like Mberengwa and Gokwe where we need to construct dams.
“We, however, would prioritise dam constructions in Mberengwa because of its rock formations that enable construction of dams compared to Gokwe,” she said.
Harare Minister of State Miriam Chikukwa said guaranteed water and electricity supply were high on her agenda.
“We want to pursue other areas that will result in improved water and electricity supply in the province. The issue of housing is another area that we will be seized with because we want to make sure residents have decent accommodation.
“Social services is another area where my heart is especially facilitating that people living in the streets get decent accommodation. We want to come up with programmes that will see the poor and the voiceless benefiting,” said Minister Chikukwa.
Mashonaland East Minister Simbaneuta Mudarikwa said he was not in the office to verify the targeted areas, while his Mashonaland West counterpart Minister Faber Chidarikire said he could not recall the targeted areas off the cuff. Matabeleland South Minister Abednico Ncube said he did not want the media to go ahead of him before cutting off the connection.
Masvingo and Mashonaland Central Ministers of State for Presidential Affairs Kudakwashe Bhasikiti and Martin Dinha, respectively, were not reachable.
Under the Infrastructure and Utilities Cluster of Zim-Asset, Government said; “ In order for the Zimbabwean economy to register growth in a manner that is both competitive and effective, there is a need for the country to undertake work in critical areas such as the development of a robust, elaborate and resilient infrastructure.”
The cluster, Government said, was focused on rehabilitation of infrastructural assets and recovery of utility services in Zimbabwe that relate to water and sanitation infrastructure, public amenities, information communication technology, energy and power supply and transport.