ED urges local authorities to promote investment as devolution takes shape

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By Alois Vinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has challenged the country’s local authorities to work towards creating investment opportunities in their respective areas as government accelerates the devolution of power among provinces.

Addressing delegates at a function organised by the Local Government ministry recently, Mnangagwa implored local authorities to explore and maximise on the existing opportunities.

“Zimbabwe is open for business. Local authorities provide the space in which all economic development takes place and must create a business friendly environment.

“There is need to establish transparent systems so that potential investors know exactly what is required of them and how to obtain the services they need. It is also important that every spatial plan must provide for commercial and industrial development so that we create sustainable human settlements where people not only live but work and play,” he said.

The President also urged local authorities to provide requisite infrastructure for the growth and expansion of small to medium enterprises and encouraged local authorities to continuously embrace the use of Information Communication Technologies to ease the cost and convenience of doing business.

“I further challenge you to promote and facilitate innovation, start-ups and entrepreneurship among your communities in a bid to answer the challenges we face within our communities and the nation as a whole,” Mnangagwa said.

He hinted that the call for economic drive is coming against a background where government decentralises its governance service delivery and representative role to provinces , districts , local and sub local government structures.

The concept of devolution has been met with mixed reactions.

Dumisani Nkomo , the chief executive of Habakkuk Trust believes that the concept will be good for the country in the long run.

“However, it remains very clear that a devolved system of governance would work very well in Zimbabwe in order to address issues of disproportionate and uneven development, lack of citizen participation, deficiency bottom up development and an absence of innovative service delivery,” he said.

Renowned economist, Aenias Chuma described the initiative as not important if other pertinent issues are not considered.

“It is not an important move because the whole chain of barriers to the ease of doing business hs not yet been addressed,” he said.

“There exists internal provincial differences and conflicts among the inhabitants of these provinces makes and it difficult for them to work together under the provincial economic banner.

“Apart from that, the legal pieces of legislation that have stood in the way for the ease of doing business in the country are still in place hence the need for the new government to focus on more critical issues first in order to create a level playing field,” he said.