AS the year 2023 comes to an end, Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister, Cde Richard Moyo, says the province recorded positive milestones as the Second Republic continues to roll out transformative development projects.
Under President Mnangagwa’s administration, Zimbabwe has made tremendous economic progress across sectors using locally available resources as it implements the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).
Reflecting on strides achieved this year, Minister Moyo said his province was the biggest beneficiary of Government’s development programme as it has a number of completed and ongoing mega projects.
He made reference to the commissioning this year of Hwange Thermal Power Station Units 7 and 8 expansion project, which has added 600MW to the grid and the opening of Muchesu Coal Mine in Binga where more than 500 jobs were created.
The Government has also opened the Binga Polytechnic so that locals equal can access tertiary education in their district.
Binga Border Post was also opened and Government during the year handed over fishing rigs to 17 traditional leaders while the implementation of Bulawayo Kraal Irrigation is underway, with the project having a capacity to make Binga and the whole province food secure.
The Government is constructing Lake Gwayi-Shangani which when completed will become the panacea to Bulawayo’s water problems and also turn the whole area between Bulawayo and Gwayi into a green belt as communities will be growing crops under irrigation.
There will also be power generation at the dam. Bubi Lupane Irrigation is already a success story with its model of rural development being replicated across the country.
Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube recently said the project had significantly contributed to development of the local economy as the local community now has a sustainable source of livelihood.
There are several other projects being implemented in different parts of the province.
In an interview, Minister Moyo said some of the projects were being implemented using devolution funds.
These include clinics such as Leona Clinic in Hwange District, which was commissioned a few months ago.
“We would want to thank President Mnangagwa for the development in Matabeleland North which has transformed livelihoods.
“We have new clinics and schools that were constructed through devolution funds and the province will never be the same again,” said Cde Moyo.
He said the province was now supplying the bulk of the country’s electricity from Hwange Thermal Power Station.
Minister Moyo said although not yet completed, Lake Gwayi-Shangani will be a game changer.
He said road rehabilitation was underway across the province after local authorities received funding from Zinara while Government under its Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2), was working on major roads.
The Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Highway is one of the projects supposed to benefit from ERRP2 funds.
Pothole patching is already underway on some sections of the highway and about 10km stretch was reconstructed in Hwange and opened to traffic.
Minister Moyo thanked the Government and implored the Transport Ministry to engage the contractor, Bitumen World to resume full works on the road that is an important link into the Sadc region.
Matabeleland North recently got five new major business projects licensed with a projected investment value of US$51,56 million in the third quarter, according to the Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (Zida) in its third quarter report.
The province has continued to attract a significant investors share, especially in the mining and energy sectors, where investors have continued to show interest in financing projects in Matabeleland North despite the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western powers.
The tourism sector has also witnessed significant growth with investments especially in lodges, hotels and restaurants reaching US$300 million last year.
In light of the investments, the province last month held an investment forum to engage potential and existing investors.