Government committed to smart cities agenda

14 Dec, 2021 - 00:12 0 Views
Government committed to smart cities agenda The new look Kudzanayi Long Distance Bus Terminus

The Chronicle

Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has said Government has allocated $43 billion in devolution funds to local authorities to upgrade infrastructure to meet the ongoing development agenda of creating smart cities.

Government approved the smart cities concept last year in line with the vision of having an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

A smart city is one that uses information communication technologies to improve operational efficiency, share information with the public and provide quality services to residents.

What is quickly noticed in a smart city is improved transport system, efficient social services and systems that promote sustainable development while affording residents a voice on issues that affect their welfare.

Government plans to fully implement the smart cities concept in line with the recently launched climate policy with Figtree in Matabeleland South set to be transformed into such a city.

Last month, Government sent a team led by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Cde July Moyo to the United Arab Emirates to study how best the concept can be implemented.

The idea is to build climate-resilient structures and settlements free of carbon emissions.

Under phase one of the programme, Government is targeting the development of smart cities in Melfort in Mashonaland East, Chirundu in Mashonaland West and Figtree in Matabeleland South.

Yesterday, President Mnangagwa said no city or town should lag behind as the country forges ahead towards achieving an upper middle-income economy by the year 2030.

President Mnangagwa, Zanu-PF Second Secretary Kembo Mohadi (right) and Bentach Resources crepresentative David Kudakwashe (left) lead the tour of the newly-refurbished Kudzanayi Long Distance Bus Terminus in Gweru yesterday. (Picture by Obey Sibanda)

The President was addressing Zanu-PF supporters  after  commissioning the US$$1,6 million Kudzanayi Long Distance Bus Terminus in the city.

The bus terminus, which was refurbished through the efforts of Government, Gweru City Council (GCC) and the private sector, also has new market stalls and a new ablution block, all for the comfort of the commuting public.

The terminus, which has a capacity to accommodate 800 vendors and more than 100 buses per day, is a product of a private-public partnership between the council and Bentach Resources.

President Mnangagwa who was accompanied by Zanu-PF Vice-President and Second Secretary Cde Kembo Mohadi, senior Government officials and Gweru City Council officials said devolution funds were enough for local authorities to modernise and embrace the smart city concept with Government taking over the development of major national projects such as roads and other infrastructure development.

He said the new-look long distance bus terminus which is only on phase one, was refurbished to meet modern standards by a private contractor.

The President commended Gweru council for coming up with a modern terminus which he said is a model that should be emulated by other local authorities.

“This is the future and well done to GCC. They took heed of my Government’s resolution, instructing all local authorities to take advantage of the Covid-19-induced lockdown to decongest, renovate and refurbish market places throughout the country.

President Mnangagwa addresses Zanu-PF supporters in Gweru yesterday

Modern and relevant infrastructure is an essential requirement for increased production and productivity,” said the President.

He said Government had doubled the devolution allocation for local authorities from last year’s $19 billion to $43 billion this coming year as it pushes the development agenda.

“My administration has availed devolution funds and the allocation for 2022 was doubled compared to 2021. The 2021 allocation was $19 billion compared to $43 billion for next year.

In utilising these resources, local authorities are urged to focus on transport infrastructure, education, health, electricity and social amenities as well as water and sanitation,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said local authorities should ensure timely use of the funds and there must be no lame excuses for non-performance.

“I exhort local authorities to make deliberate efforts to develop their specific localities. The devolution funds are here to stay and local authorities must ensure prudent, effective and timely use of these funds, there is no excuse for non-performance, we have given some authorities money for this year and some still have the money, those who don’t use money we take it back to Treasury,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said the Kudzanayi Long Distance bus terminus project was a reflection of the kind of milestones that can be realised if people are innovative, united, peaceful and focused towards building their communities and their great country. “Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said no foreign funding was used in the renovation of the new terminus- a development which he said should be commended.

“No one or assistance came from the UK, or came from America or China. The people of Gweru agreed to have this beautiful terminus and it materialised. You are the owners of this property. I therefore call upon other communities and institutions to take a leaf from this initiative and also seek creative ways to transform the socio- economic environment of their communities,” said the President.

“No act or project is too small or too insignificant, brick by brick, stone upon stone, lets us arise and build our mother land in line with vision 2030.

I’m happy that you have done it here. This market is now in 2030 in terms of what it is offering the people. We are in 2021 and you are already in 2030. So, Gweru residents, your other leg is in 2030. Ladies and gentlemen, I applaud the unity of purpose and team work which saw the successful refurbishment of this terminus through a public, private partnership.

The Bentach private limited invested a total of US$1,6 million towards the refurbishment of the terminus and upgrading the facility. The City of Gweru availed the land and necessary approvals.”

President Mnangagwa said local authorities, most of which are run by the opposition MDC party have persistently failed in service delivery and urged the electorate to vote wisely in the scheduled by-elections.

“My Government remains concerned with those local authorities that have persistently failed in their mandate to deliver quality and basic services and social amenities.

I thus urge our people to ride on the 2022 by-elections and 2023 harmonised elections to vote in councillors and members of Parliament with integrity, who have people at heart and can deliver quality service,” said President Mnangagwa.

He said the Second Republic is determined to improve the quality of life for all Zimbabweans without leaving any one behind.

The President said Government is identifying resources in every province that could be exploited and processed in the respective provinces as it establishes factories that use these resources to uplift the people’s lives.

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