NYASHA MAJONI in Kwekwe
As the Government of Zimbabwe moves towards implementing the process of devolution which seeks to decentralize and transfer power from national to local government level, the process must be executed in a way that benefits women in business and small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), a cabinet minister has said.
Minister of Women Affairs and Small to Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni implored on provincial ministers to ‘remember’ their communities and ensure that community development is part of the devolution agenda.
In apparent reference to Minister of State for Midlands provincial Affairs, Larry Mavhima, who was part of her entourage during the ministerial tour of local SMEs in Kwekwe on Thursday, Dr Nyoni said women in business and SMEs must benefit from the devolution process in the province.
“I am very happy that we are in the Midlands. Minister (Mavhima), you are doing very well because (as) the provincial ministries, you are very important. We want to rope you in so that as you plan your devolution budget, you remember (your) communities. We want community development to be part of your agenda”, said Dr Nyoni.
“We want women’s issues- especially women that are in business- to be part of your agenda. We want SMEs, as a whole, to be part of your budget. What SMEs are saying is that they still don’t have adequate and appropriate workspace. They are renting properties and the landlords are charging an arm and a leg. They are charging exorbitant prices and some of them are being removed from those premises. So, I want to appeal to you Honourable Minister, together with your Mayors, that please make land available for SMEs”, she said.
During her tour, Minister Nyoni went around various SMEs wholly owned by indigenous citizens of Zimbabwe which include Hard Hunters Investments in Mbizo and Lamcast Refractories in Redcliff.
During the 2018 harmonized elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed his commitment to implement devolution amid public outcry over the centralization of government business in the capital, Harare.