The Sunday News
Rutendo Nyeve, Sunday News Reporter
THE Government says it is happy with efforts being put in place towards the revival of Bulawayo’s economic fortunes saying the city is very critical in the broader development matrix of the country.
Thorough the engagement and re-engagement efforts by the Second Republic, the city has managed to strike some investment deals and Government has continued to lay a red carpet for more investment opportunities as the country strains towards fulfilment of the first phase of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) (2021-2025) which builds momentum towards realising an upper middle-income economy vision by 2030.
It is in that light that the city has already put in place the Bulawayo Metropolitan Provincial Economic Development Plan (PEDP) which is derivation from the national development blue-print, and seeks to capitalise on major comparative advantages, which position the city for prime investment opportunities, especially in the manufacturing-related sectors.
A number of national projects from within the region such as Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction and the commissioning of Hwange Unit seven and eight are part of the projects by the Second Republic that feed into Bulawayo revival as water and power were some of the factors that dispel investment from the once thriving industrial hub of the country.
Once a thriving industrial hub of Zimbabwe with extensive infrastructure in sectors such as textile, leather, meat processing plants, pharmaceuticals, allied products as well as cement products, among others, Bulawayo is working towards reclaiming its past glory.
Working closely with the Government, the city is harnessing every opportunity to position itself as the leading investment and industrial centre with a focus on expanding production, widening job opportunities, and growing export earnings.
In an interview last week, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Professor Mthuli Ncube said while the city had attracted a number of investment opportunities in various sectors from within and outside the country, there was need to do more towards resuscitating the industries.
“We need to revive some of the industries, we are pleased so far with some of the progress in terms of new investment. I am aware for instance that Bakers Inn has built a factory in Belmont where they are baking bread, it is a state of the art factory with robotics. It is pretty impressive, and I am sure it will be commissioned soon. I am just mentioning one investment but there are several other investors who have invested in Bulawayo and are expanding their business like Arenel biscuits and many more,” said Prof Ncube.
Prof Ncube said priority had been given towards the rejuvenation of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) which will open floodgates for Bulawayo business. He said the company has the potential of being the biggest employer and will continue to priorities its revamping through budget allocations as well as private investment.
“There is need to do more in terms reviving industries and creating jobs and a key piece of infrastructure here is the National Railways of Zimbabwe and as Government, we have set aside resources to buy more wagons and fix the railway line. We have also set aside a component in the 2024 budget to sponsor NRZ. The board and management of NRZ as well as the Ministry of Transport are working with various suitors who wish to partner with NRZ to ensure that it is properly developed and brought up to standard.
“Zimbabwe is a transit country for the region so it is important that it faces the gauge and engage in other things so that there is seamless connection between Zimbabwe and other countries within the region. All that is being looked into, we are speaking of NRZ because it is a large employer and we need more job creation within the city so supporting NRZ is critical so that jobs are generated in Bulawayo,” said Prof Ncube.
Government has embarked on massive infrastructure projects like the completed Hwange Unit seven and eight as well as Gwayi-Shangani Dam construction which is ongoing to enhance provision of electricity and water respectively. The availability of these two resources are set to promote investment and enhance the revitalisation of Bulawayo industries. @nyeve14