Ray Bande Senior Reporter
THERE is need for the establishment of Manicaland Business Forum to explore solutions to economic challenges in the province, business lobby groups, politicians, and economic analysts have said.
Establishment of the forum in the province has remained a pipe dream for a long time but the recent ushering in of the new political dispensation has seen calls for its formation getting louder.
In an interview on the sidelines of a meeting that brought together Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs Cde Monica Mutsvangwa, Arda board chairman Mr Basil Nyabadza, Agrillience investors, farmers and business lobby groups, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries vice president Mr Richard Chiwandire said it was high time the establishment of Manicaland Business Forum was prioritised.
“I think it is clear that we need to establish the Manicaland Business Forum so that we have a platform to explore challenges and solutions to economic challenges in the region for the benefit of the nation at large.
“There is no doubt that Manicaland is blessed with abundant resources and those resources cannot benefit the province or the nation as long as we do not have a proper platform to explore our challenges and find possible solutions,” said Mr Chiwandire.
In a separate interview, South African based businessman Engineer Farai Kushata, who traces his roots to the Marange area of Mutare West constituency, echoed Mr Chiwandire’s sentiments saying a provincial business forum gives the province a united voice in advocating for policy or legislative enablers that can open avenues in exploiting resources abound in the region.
“There is no doubt that a provincial business forum gives the province the strength to speak with one voice in finding solutions to challenges that could be working against maximum exploitation of resources found in the province. “We all know that Manicaland has a lot of resources that can help resuscitate the economy but that can only be achieved if there is proper and organised exploitation of these resources. Therefore there is need of a forum that can explore ideas to see how best we can benefit from what we have,” he said.
In her vote of thanks during the stakeholders meeting in Mutare, Minister of State for Manicaland Affairs Cde Monica Mutsvangwa said she will make sure the forum is established.
“My office will certainly see to it that we establish this forum and also make sure that it will serve the purpose that it is created for. It is a good idea that will benefit the province and the nation at large,’’ she said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Arda board chairman Mr Nyabadza also called for the immediate formation of the forum as a way to monitor more efficient exploitation of mineral and agricultural resources in the province.