MINISTER : I WANT TO BE BASED IN BULAWAYO
THE newly appointed Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, Cde Raj Modi has said he will liaise with his minister so that he works from Bulawayo so that he can adopt a hands-on approach in the revival of the city’s industry.
All ministers and their deputies operate from the Harare but Cde Modi thinks there is no need for everyone to be in the capital city.
“I have had it in my mind that I would like to work from here in Bulawayo all things being equal. I will discuss with my minister, we have been together with my minister for a few days and we have not really come up with a plan but that is my thinking that if circumstances allow. We will have it that I remain here and the minister looks after the other side (Harare),” said Cde Modi in an interview last week.
Cde Modi, who is Bulawayo South representative in the National Assembly, also has vast business interests in Bulawayo.
“I have a lot of business interests in Bulawayo where I stay, so I would like to remain here and at the same time I will look after the things I have to do as the deputy minister despite not being in the capital on a full-time basis,” he said.
Minister of Industry and Commerce Cde Mangaliso Ndlovu said he supports Cde Modi as running a ministry does not need physical presence every day.
“My role as the minister is to facilitate and support and ensure that the policy environment is supportive of growth and new entrance in to the market. These duties do not require everyday hand holding, you interact where you can but a city must be able to revive on its own if everything is in place,” he said.
Cde Ndlovu said his ministry was putting a programme to revive the city and restore it to its former glory as an industrial hub.
“I am keen on starting new industries. I would not want to put the cart before the horse in saying which ones will come but we must agree that there is scope for new industries in the city. Ideally we want hard industry to come to Bulawayo and that is the direction I foresee Government taking and soft industries like technology going to Harare,” he said.
Added Cde Ndlovu: “Bulawayo is the anchor of industries in Zimbabwe, the place we should have the concentration of industries, we will put more effort in trying to resuscitate the industries that we can. We will work closely with the captains of industry within the region, time has indeed moved and it has been a while since we were the so called industrial hub.”
Cde Ndlovu said even President Mnangagwa wanted to see Bulawayo back on its feet.
“The President wants to see Bulawayo coming up. I can assure you, if you look after the announcement of the Cabinet this is one of the first visits he made to commission the value addition agro-processing plant. The jobs created there tell you there is so much potential in the city,” he said.
Cde Ndlovu also said he will tour all the country’s 10 provinces to get an appreciation of the challenges faced by industry.
“We are going to tour the whole country, we need to give them an ear on the challenges they have in their various sectors and they also will share with us other areas that we can work on as a ministry to improve the state of affairs. I feel also that there are a lot of bottlenecks in industry that we can be resolved now. We need to seek ideas on ways to incentivise struggling industries in the city and beyond because it all has an effect on the value chain,” said Cde Ndlovu.
The ministry has also organised a business expo that will be held in Bulawayo in two weeks.
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