23 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Minister Biti Sets Aside U.S.$136 Million for Matabeleland Region

press release

The Matabeleland region in 2012 received the largest budget allocation totalling over US$136 million from the Ministry of Finance says Minister Tendai Biti.

In his last monthly review of the state of the economy for 2012, the Minister of Finance Biti revealed that Bulawayo, Matabeleland North and South provinces were the biggest beneficiaries from the Treasury in 2012.

Bulawayo is Zimbabwe's second largest city with an estimated population of 1 million.

Minister Biti's state of the economy review is contrary some political assertions made by misguided politicians that there is no development taking place in the Matabeleland region and that Hon. Biti as the Minister of Finance is neglecting the region.

The Monthly State of the Economy report gives a detailed update on the fiscal and other macro-economic developments as at the end of November. The Matabeleland region budget totalling US$13 248 064 was used in upgrading various government institutions which included schools, hospitals, clinics, colleges, universities, rehabilitating water, sewer and roads.

During the same period, the Bulawayo province received a total US$12 553 444. From this budget over US$6,4 million was used to rehabilitate Mpilo Central Hospital.

In Matabeleland North, the province received US$55 554 293 and US$8 million was used for the Gwayi-Shangani dam construction US$4 million for upgrading the Victoria Falls water supply system while US$2,1 million was used for refurbishing Victoria Falls Hospital and US$5,3 million for the construction of Lupane University.

The Infra Link Road covering a distance of 65km was rehabilitated at a total cost of US$34 million. Over US$700 000 was set aside for irrigation projects at the Bulawayo Kraal, Chikwarakwara, Hauke, Mankonkoni, Pollards, Silalabuwa and Zhove.

In Matabeleland South province at total of US$68, 140, 357 was set aside by Minister Biti. Of this amount, US$3 million was used for upgrading the Beitbridge water supply system and US$1 million was used for water and sewer rehabilitation in Gwanda Town. Other districts that benefited in the province are, Bulilima, Mangwe, Filabusi, Esigondini, Plumtree.

The Ministry of Finance injected US$8,2 million for the construction of Mtshabezi Dam water pipeline. The water pipeline will provide water to the city of Bulawayo.

In his report, Minister Biti noted that diamond exports for 2012 as of 15 November stood at US$586 million of which Mbada Diamonds had the highest export shipments of US$262 million, followed by Anjin Investments with US$127 million.

Minister Biti said major exports were minerals, accounting for 61.8 percent followed by tobacco at 21.8 percent, agriculture, 9.2 percent, horticulture, 0.3 percent and hunting at 0.2 percent. "Cumulative imports to 15 November 2012 amounted to US$7 billion compared to US$5.5 billion in 2011," said Minister Biti.

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