Provincial Councils, the new economic hubs

The just ended ZANU PF 17th Annual People’s Conference in Esigodini, Matabeleland South Province put its weight behind the establishment of Provincial Councils as called for under Chapter 14 Section 268 of the new Constitution. The Party resolved “That the role of provincial council be to provide the legislative framework on provincial economic development through the production of economic development plans”.

Since time immemorial there were numerous calls by provinces that they were being sidelined in deciding how resources from their respective areas were going to be used. They complained that despite extraction of resources from their areas there was no meaningful development being championed for the benefit of locals.

With this new dimension, each province based on the resources found in their area will see to it that they fund developmental projects in their province without necessarily waiting for central Government for disbursement of funds.

Government is calling for the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in various provinces. Before relations between Zimbabwe and the west got sour, the country used to export beef, fresh flowers and horticultural products under a quota system. Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Manicaland, Midlands and Masvingo Provinces have good fertile agricultural soils which make them ideal to produce horticultural products for export. Matabeleland North and South Provinces are good for cattle ranching, thus farmers can fill in the lucrative European Union (EU) beef quota. These provinces produce natural beef which is in demand in the EU region.

Provinces were complaining that their infrastructure was dilapidated. Now this is a chance for provinces to develop new and sound infrastructure such as schools, clinics, roads and bridges. There are some areas especially those in new resettlement areas which do not have modern learning facilities, roads have become impassable and new bridges needs to be constructed. This is their chance of correcting this

With rain-fed agriculture no longer sustainable, it now calls for water harvesting through the construction of dams and establishment of irrigation schemes to allow all year round cropping. A number of districts do not have enough dams to support crop and animal husbandry, with the new trajectory, provinces can now champion water harvesting which in turn will turn around provincial economic developments.

Growth Points can now be turned into small towns if not cities thereby creating employment in the process through value addition of locally produced products. A lot or raw materials like black granites, minerals and agricultural produce were being carried to major cities or even abroad for further processing.