Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
URGENT measures need to be taken to weed out corruption in both the public and private sectors to ensure meaningful economic turnaround under the devolution framework, Midlands Provincial Affairs Minister, Senator Larry Mavima, has said.
In a speech read on his behalf by the acting Midlands provincial administrator, Mr Joram Chimedza, during the 5th Business Economic Empowerment Forum (BEEF) consultative meeting held recently at a Kwekwe hotel, Minister Mavima said corruption was a threat to the devolution process, if not addressed.
“Empowerment efforts by Government should be commended and should yield intended outcomes, provided there is integrity, dedication and zero tolerance to corruption,” he said.
“It is Government’s new way of doing things that we should have zero tolerance to corruption if we, as a nation, are to get back to the economic rail. Corruption has become an Achilles heel (weakness), which will pull back Government efforts.”
The Minister said the Midlands has been an industrial hub for decades, thriving on its vast mineral resources and industries. He said efforts to resuscitate the textile sector in the province would go a long way towards ensuring that local businesses benefit from their own resources in line with devolution.
“We are working flat out to restore confidence within the business sector and eradicate corruption. More so, this is in line with Zimbabwe’s economic drive that we are open for business and unlocking economic value as we aim to achieve vision 2030,” said Minister Mavima.
“The business environment should be fair. Whatever you invest in you should be able to benefit from it. We are in full support of efforts by BEEF especially as provincial GDPs are to become a yardstick for provincial economic growth.”
Speaking at the same occasion, BEEF president, Mr Solomon Matsa, urged Government to engage the business community in solving the economic challenges bedeviling the economy.
He said as BEEF, they were creating a platform for dialogue between the business community and Government, which was not there in the past.
“We created this organisation after we realised that over the past 37 years of the previous Government, politics ran without business so we decided that we now needed politics to run with business and coincidentally, our President (Mnangagwa) is open for business, which resonates well with our idea as BEEF,” said Mr Matsa.
He condemned the tendency of borrowing and never paying back, urging Government to craft a national credit policy to account for such.
“Our problem is that if we borrow, we no longer want to pay back. Most of us went to colleges using bursaries, but how many of you paid back.
“That is the major problem with us that we no longer care about the person who gave you the money to start your business,” said Mr Matsa.
The business indaba was a provincial gathering meant to discuss how best the province can benefit from locally available resources. Delegates from across the province were in attendance.