Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
THE ongoing Government funded water projects will go a long way in enhancing Bulawayo’s investment opportunities and spur its economic growth momentum, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Judith Ncube, has said.
Adequate water security is one of the critical enablers to investment attractiveness and in the past years the business community has raised concern over erratic water supplies.
The Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has gone aggressive in driving water infrastructure projects in Matabeleland region, with priority being given to addressing Bulawayo’s perennial water woes.
The Construction of the Lake Gwayi-Shangani, a major component of the National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project, is one of the major water projects being undertaken by the Government and is expected to boost city’s water reserves.
With a holding capacity of 650 million cubic metres of water, and 245km pipeline, the project was first mooted in 1912, but had failed to take off under previous successive administrations.
It is among the Government’s major priorities is in line with aspirations of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) towards Vision 2030 and is expected to be completed this year after missing last year’s deadline.
Addressing delegates at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) International Business Conference in Bulawayo yesterday, Minister Ncube said the city is set to reclaim its status as the country’s industrial hub due to various industrial and economic reforms implemented by the Second Republic including ongoing water projects.
“According to the ZimStat provincial GDP data shows that Bulawayo has the highest nominal GDP per capita for the period 2019-20,” she said.
“This is evidence of the various industrial and economic reforms implemented by the Second Republic with the Government working towards the attainment of water security in Bulawayo.
“We are now optimistic that we will soon start attracting necessary investment in the city which should restore Bulawayo to its former status of being Zimbabwe’s industrial hub in line with the desire by the Government to transform the country into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.”
Contractors for the pipeline project have started opening access roads and doing pipeline servitude clearance for the laying of the pipeline from Lake Gwayi-Shangani to Bulawayo.
The Government under the Second Republic has ramped up efforts to ensure that water is pumped to the city by year-end.
On completion, the pipeline will convey 160 000 megalitres of water to Bulawayo daily, a development that will improve the water and sanitation requirements of the city.
Last year in March, President Mnangagwa commissioned the Epping Forest Water Supply Augmentation Project in Nyamandlovu for Bulawayo, which resulted in the city receiving an additional 20 megalitres of water from the underground water resources.
Bulawayo is hosting the ZITF, which comes on the back of the successful hosting of the historic Independence Day celebrations, which for the first time since 1980, took place outside Harare.
The hosting of the landmark event outside the capital city is in line with the Second Republic’s commitment to the devolution and decentralisation agenda and the realisation of development that leaves no one and no place behind.
“For the metropolitan province, ZITF is one of the biggest economic events as it enhances linkages in the various sectors of our economy.
This premier showcase brings together industrialists, traders and potential investors from within Zimbabwe, the region and the rest of the world for business networking and exploration of investment opportunities,” said Minister Ncube.
Through regional and international integration, Minister Ncube said Zimbabwe can reclaim its economic powerhouse status with Bulawayo regaining its status as the country’s industrial hub.
“I am confident that business deals to resuscitate the industries will be struck and our companies will be able to create partnerships and synergies,” she said.
“The achievement of His Excellency the President Cde ED Mnangagwa’s aspirations of becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030 are becoming a reality.
“Large scale economic changes in our country create good opportunities for bold business activities that result in the realisation of truly strategic projects such as the resuscitation of the Cold Storage Commission and the NRZ whose headquarters are in Bulawayo.”
Minister Ncube said available investment opportunities in Bulawayo extend to manufacturing, infrastructure development, sanitation, energy and power development, agriculture tourism and mining.
“Investors are welcome in all the sectors with more emphasis on value addition and beneficiation of the local raw materials and integration of the province into national and regional industrial value chains,” she said.
“The city of Bulawayo was granted the Special Economic Zone status making it one of the most competitive locations for investors who want to focus on exporting their products.”
Article Source: The Chronicle