Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa says the increasing housing development in the country’s towns and cities without corresponding industrial development was a cause for concern, as it would present a huge unemployment problem.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Chinamasa, who was speaking at the Local Government Investment conference yesterday, challenged delegates to show him any town which was experiencing industrial development.
“I will start by making an observation, which I think is typical of all our cities when I move around whether its Zvishavane, Shurugwi, Rusape, Mutare, Nyanga [and] Plumtree you observe massive housing development, which is very good and meets a basic need under Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but there is no corresponding industrial development in all those cities and if there is, please come and call me and show it to me,” he said.
Chinamasa pointed out that there was need to have equilibrium between housing development and industrial development if local authorities were to attract investment.
“What that means is that we are heading for some social problem in the future,” he said.
“Those people, who are putting money into housing, will have children, who will want employment and employment is provided by industrial development.
“So, as we speak, it is very important that we do everything in our power to attract industrial development in our cities.”
The Finance minister said most local authorities were saddled with high cost structures and insolvency, something which needs correction in order to attract investors.
“Consider yourself maidens, who are looking for suitors,” he said.
“You must spruce yourselves up especially when the suitors are very few.
“If you are not attractive, no one will come to you. You can speak, but no one will come to you,”
Chinamasa bemoaned the state of infrastructure, admonishing local authorities to maintain and keep it from collapse.
“We, as local authorities, abandoned this responsibility and, as a result, we no longer have orderly transport systems in all our cities and towns, I think it is important we recover that responsibility as local authorities,” he said.
“The importance of well-maintained infrastructure cannot be overemphasised.
“Let us not leave our infrastructure to collapse and hope to resuscitate it. It is both costly and difficult to restore collapsed infrastructure.”