Fungai Lupande Mashonaland Central Bureau
Invictus Energy, the Australian firm exploring for gas and oil in Muzarabani, has finished consultations with traditional leaders and communities in the area on rituals that need to be performed to pave way for the next stage, the test drilling.
Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the company was eager to start working on the project.
Speaking during his engagement visit to Muchembere village in Hoya, Muzarabani, Prof Ncube said the Government, the community and the investor have high expectations that the project will become a flagship in the area and the mining sector and will place Zimbabwe high among oil producing countries.
“It is important for us to manage our natural resources for the benefit of current and future generations. Natural resources are exhaustible and we need to manage them to achieve intergenerational equity,” said Prof Ncube.
“These resources need to be managed properly so that the communities benefit through community trust schemes. The community must not be left behind. The resources must go towards uplifting schools, roads, bridges and will facilitate development in the area.
“By the time the resource is finished we should see a lot of development. The President, Cde Mnangagwa, is determined to build a US$12 billion mining industry.”
He said the country has the top 50 most valuable minerals including lithium, uranium, diamonds, platinum and gold and the Government is determined to realise the full potential of the resources.
Speaking at the same occasion Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda, who is also MP for Muzarabani North, said consultations with local chiefs are ongoing for the traditional rituals before the oil and gas project starts.
“The investor has concluded consultations with the communities and further consultations are being done because we believe some rituals need to be conducted in this area. The chiefs are spearheading the process,” said Minister Soda.
“Communities in Muzarabani are excited about oil and gas prospects in Muzarabani and are appealing for employment of local people.
“They are also appealing to the Government for a clear programme, which looks into the development of the district.”
He said the district is still lagging behind as some schools are still using pole and dagga classrooms.
“This is because parents on their own cannot afford to build proper structures. We are thankful to the Government for constructing proper infrastructure at some of our schools.
“Recently Vice President Constantino Chiwenga was at Chitemamuswe Primary School to assess a project meant to improve eight schools in this district.
“The schools include Kairezi, Bere, Kairezi Central, Kakonono, Chiwenga, Mudzimu and Keche. However, late disbursement of devolution funds is affecting completion of projects meant to promote people’s livelihoods.”
Since June this year people in Muzarabani have not yet received drought relief grain from the Government.
Minister Soda said late disbursement of transport funds for the grain is also affecting distribution.
“Construction of health posts started during the first cycle of the 100 day quick wins programme are not yet complete. We are now in the sixth cycle and we want construction of the health posts to be expedited especially across the Hoya River where communities are cut off during the rainy season,” he said.
“Hoya River separates Mutemakungu, Chionde, Chiwenga and other communities and construction of the bridge is now at 80 percent. We want the bridge to be complete before the rainy season.”