Nesia Mhaka and Blessings Chidakwa
Zimbabwe’s dry port facility in Namibia will be operational in a few days, a development expected to provide a strategic and cheaper gateway to and from the Atlantic Ocean for local manufacturers and international businesses.
This was said by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Minister Monica Mutsvangwa while presenting the 39th Cabinet Decisions Matrix yesterday.
“Cabinet noted with satisfaction the progress report on the operationalisation of the Walvis Bay Dry Port facility in Namibia as presented by the Minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development (Joel Biggie Matiza),” she said.
“The dry port facility, which was officially inaugurated by His Excellency the President (Mnangagwa) on 26 July, 2019 is set to commence operations mid-November 2019. The facility was established for purposes of cargo handling, storage and freight logistics.
“Zimbabwe will derive tremendous benefits from the dry port through facilitation of the smooth flow of the country’s imports and exports.”
Cabinet has since directed ministries and their agencies to start using the facility, especially in view of the need to de-congest traditional routes to the Mozambican and South African ports.
The dry port facility was built on an estimated 19 000 square metres given to Zimbabwe by Namibia on a lease agreement of over 50 years.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also approved plans to turnaround the Forest Commission as part of the ongoing State Enterprises (SoEs) reform programme.
She said Cabinet considered and approved a comprehensive turnaround strategy for the Forestry Commission, which the Minister of Finance and Economic Development presented as part of the ongoing SoEs reform programme.
“The strategy is intended to address funding, governance and skills training needs and thereby enable the Forestry Commission to effectively discharge its mandate of preserving and growing the country’s rich forestry endowment.
“Cabinet also approved to restructure and realign the Forestry Commission to perform its core function on the conservation and management of the country’s forestry reserve in contributing to the economic turnaround and the attainment of Vision 2030; that the Forestry Commission broadens community participation by setting up Natural Resource Management Committees in rural communities in two collaboration with Rural District Councils; that, in line with the new dispensation’s devolution policy, each province develops a Natural Resources Development Plan, which entails sound management of forestry and wildlife resources for effective contribution to economic growth and that the Forestry Commission undertakes effective marketing as well as competitive pricing of its tourism facilities in order to enhance its financial performance,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet also directed that the Forestry Commission urgently concludes its lease agreement with Allied Timbers, thereby expanding its revenue base through lease fees.
“On its part, Government will institute and coordinate measures to deal with the challenges of illegal settlers who exacerbate the depletion of forests and thereby undermine the operations of the Forestry Commission,” she said.