The government has allocated $ 43 billion under decentralization for next year to local authorities for infrastructure upgrades to meet the ongoing smart city development agenda, and no city should be left behind while the country is striving to achieve an upper middle-income economy by 2030, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
The president, who officially opened a new Kudzanai long-distance bus terminus in Gweru, said decentralization funds were sufficient for local authorities to modernize and embrace the smart city concept, with the government supporting the development of large national projects such as roads. and other infrastructure.
A smart city uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve operational efficiency, share information with the public and provide better quality of government service and the well-being of citizens.
The main objective of a smart city is to optimize city functions and promote economic growth, while improving the quality of life of citizens by using smart technologies and data analysis.
The new long-distance bus terminus, which is only in its first phase, has been renovated to modern standards by a private contractor, Bentach Private Limited, in partnership with Gweru City Council for a fee of $ 1 , $ 6 million.
The terminus, which houses modern parking lots for local and cross-border buses, more than 800 outlets and around 300 flea market stalls, uses a smart card check-in and payment system.
President Mnangagwa praised Gweru City Council for proposing a modern terminus, which he said should be a model for other local authorities to emulate.
âThis is the future of adopting the smart city concept and well done to the Gweru city council. They heeded my administration’s resolution calling on all local authorities to take advantage of the Covid-19-induced lockdown to decongest, renovate and rehabilitate marketplaces across the country.
âA modern and relevant infrastructure is an essential condition for increased production, productivity and economic competitiveness,â said the president.
He said the government had doubled the decentralization allocation for local authorities from $ 19 billion last year to $ 43 billion next year to advance the development agenda.
âMy administration has used devolution funds and the allocation of these devolution funds has doubled since this year. This year the allocated devolution funds were $ 19 billion and they have now doubled to $ 43 billion for next year.
“Using these resources, local authorities are urged to focus on transport infrastructure, education, health, electricity and social amenities as well as water and sanitation,” said the president. Mnangagwa.
Local authorities, he added, should ensure a timely use of funds without giving lame excuses for non-execution.
âI urge local authorities to make deliberate efforts to develop their communities. Decentralization funds are here to stay and local authorities must ensure the prudent, efficient and timely use of these funds.
âThere is no excuse for not performing; we have given money to some authorities for this year and they still have the money. Those who do not use money, we take it back to the treasury, âhe said.
The president said that with by-elections slated for March next year, the electorate is expected to vote councilors and MPs with a vision to develop their regions.
He said local authorities, most of which were led by the MDC, the opposition, consistently failed to provide decent services and urged the electorate to vote wisely.
âMy government remains concerned about local authorities who have consistently failed in their mandate to provide quality and basic services and social amenities. I therefore urge our people to take advantage of the by-elections of 2022 and the harmonized elections of 2023 to vote among councilors and deputies with integrity and with the concern of the people to offer a better quality of life â, he added. he declares.
His administration, the president said, was determined to improve the quality of life for all Zimbabweans without leaving anyone behind.
In the pursuit of transforming lives, the Second Republic was identifying resources in each province and developing factories in rural areas, President Mnangagwa said.
He added that Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and everyone has a role to play as the country evolves into an upper middle class economy.
âIn order to develop all regions of the country, we have identified the products and activities in which the people of a specific region thrive.
âFor example, in Mutoko most people practice market gardening and for years they have worked hard, incurring losses while
taking their produce to Harare, but now we’ve built a one-stop market there and the farmers in Mutoko now have a market ready.
âLikewise in Mwenezi, in Masvingo province, we recently established an amarula factory where people can now simply go out and pick amarula fruits before bringing them to the factory for sale. This is how we work to build our Zimbabwe together, âhe said.
The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said the new bus terminal has 3,686 registered SMEs which are now the engine of Gweru’s economy.
âWe also have 7,405 people who also work in the informal sector in Gweru and were part of the value chain and linkage program,â she said.