Levi Mukarati in Rutenga
Government has made significant headway in dealing head-on with various challenges affecting the economy, and has since addressed fuel and wheat challenges, while satisfactory progress has been made in key developmental projects, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said.
He was speaking at a hugely subscribed Meet the People Rally here yesterday.
The interface, he said, was designed to get an appreciation of challenges facing communities, as well as apprise them of the developmental activities the Zanu-PF Government is currently championing.
The President said the progress that was currently being made by Zanu-PF will effectively make opposition political parties irrelevant by 2023.
President Mnangagwa said Masvingo, which is predominantly parched, and other parts of the country would be provided with food relief as Government had enough maize stocks.
“No-one will die of hunger. We are yet to get into our Strategic Grain Reserve, where we have half-a-million tonnes of maize,” said President Mnangagwa.
“There are areas where rains have not been favourable to the farmers, but in some areas we will have good harvests.
“But as a country we have enough food and no-one will starve,” he said.
Government, he added, was seized with addressing challenges currently plaguing the nation.
Fuel shortages had been solved as it was now readily available, while the country had also begun to take delivery of wheat recently secured from his recent trip to Eurasia, he said.
The Head of State and Government said there was now a deliberate push to develop rural areas as they had lagged behind.
“I went to Russia in January and managed to secure wheat, which is now starting to arrive in Beira, so there will no longer be bread shortages.
“But when I went to Belarus, they promised to give us 500 buses; those buses will target the rural areas.
“We also have bought 200 buses from South Africa and locally. Fifty-four of those buses are now in the country and we will make sure they ply rural routes at affordable fares.”
President Mnangagwa said Government and Zanu-PF was now pushing for viable rural economies through devolution.
“I told all the provincial ministers that there should be economic competition among the provinces,” he said.
“We are saying no province will look towards Harare for its sustenance. We want each province to have its economy and its GDP.
“For instance, we are saying what do you have here in Masvingo that you want the Government to assist you so that you become economically active.
“I have heard your Provincial Affairs Minister (Ezra Chadzamira) saying there are huge water bodies in the province.
“Tugwi- Mukosi is here, which will do electricity. There will be 25 000 hectares of land under irrigation and then there is Runde Dam, which we are constructing as Government.
“I also heard that you have vast tracts of land. Some have wildlife and others are idle, so if we target irrigation this province can be the bread-basket of the country.
“We also want cotton to be planted here and revive winter wheat production. We have a programme with Spain that will supply us centre pivots,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said during his recent visit to Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan he had managed to secure joint venture deals for the agricultural sector.
He said the rehabilitation of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu highway had begun to take shape.
“The road from Beitbridge to Harare to Chirundu, we had given it to Geiger during the old administration, but we discovered that it had no money to do the project and had no record of having done any road works elsewhere.
“As Government, we have begun dualising the highway. To those who travel on the road, you can see there are road works going on and we are using our own funds.
“We have realised that we can do it alone because we will create employment for locals in areas that the works will be taking place.
“We have also started another road from Rutenga to Zvishavane and from here to Sango Border Post.
“We have a rail system from Maputo passing through here, but it is old. We have a programme to rehabilitate that railway line from here to Gweru, as well as have it divert to Masvingo.”
President Mnangagwa added that productivity was his administration’s major focus.
“Productivity should be countrywide. We are saying those who are close to water bodies please utilise that water,” he said.
“We are also going to continue with the Presidential Input Scheme. Previously we were allocating $30 million towards that programme, we have increased the budgetary allocations to the Presidential Input Scheme so that you get double the inputs that you have been getting.
“Here in Masvingo you have many minerals such as gold, chrome and lithium. I am told you also have diamonds, but the diamonds belong to the Government.
“When we went to Russia there was a big company called Alrosa that expressed interest to mine diamonds in Zimbabwe. We will also consider giving them permission to mine here in Masvingo.
The President said he had been briefed that Shabanie Mashaba Mine was set to resume operations by June.
He said efforts were being made to ensure radio and television signals are available to everyone in the country
“I am told there are areas here where there are no radio and television signals,” he said.
“Let us know of the specific areas so that we give a directive to our Minister (of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services) Amai (Monica) Mutsvangwa so that she prioritises that issue.
“We don’t want to have places in Zimbabwe that do not get television and radio signals from our country.
“We want our people to be kept abreast with what is happening in the country. We want them to know what we are doing for them as leaders.”
He made assurances that Government would ensure all children of school-going age have access to education.
He said the computerisation programme targeting schools was ongoing and more schools were set to benefit
“The focus for this Government is development, development, development. It is production, production, production. Skills, skills, skills to our people,” said the President.
“This is the only way to develop our country, no-one will develop it except ourselves.
“That burden of development is on our shoulders, together we can make Zimbabwe better. We can build the Zimbabwe we want, where every family, where every individual, where every single girl, every single boy will use his or her talent for the good of the country.”