Zimbabwe: Beitbridge Youth, Women Want Municipality Budget to Drive Investment

15 October 2021

Thupeyo Muleya — Beitbridge Bureau

The youth and women here have urged the Beitbridge Municipality to craft an annual budget that creates an enabling environment for investment and for them to equally participate in matters of the town's economic development.

The calls were made during yesterday's budget consultation meeting held in the border town.

Most of those who contributed said in most cases women and the youth bore the brunt of poor service delivery and were often left out on matters of civic participation.

Some said the local authority should channel part of its allocated devolution funds to addressing issues of public lighting, and creating youth interaction centres in each of the six wards.

Other projects include upgrading existing sports facilities and the establishment of rehabilitation centres to accommodate drug addicts and the acquisition of a modern fire tender.

"We appreciate the invitation extended to the youth to contribute towards the formulation of the municipality's annual budget for 2022," said Mr Zibusiso Ndlovu.

"We appeal to you as the authorities to consider creating an environment for us to nurture our talents in the fields or arts entrepreneurship, ICT and culture.

"So it is our hope that in this budget, funds be committed to creating youth interaction centres and the upgrading of the upgrading facilities. These are very important to us".

Mr Kudakwashe Garayipasi said they were many youths in the town with entrepreneurship skills, and would do better in an enabling environment that recognizes their importance.

He said they need space to market or showcase their skills and that the council should provide a bridge between the youth and potential investors.

Miss Kudakwashe Mukandatsama said the council should commit more funds to address Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) issues in Ward 6, where there is a glaring shortage of such facilities.

"Women and children are the ones affected mostly where there is a deficiency in the WASH area because they have to move around to get water at the few available sources," she said.

A representative of women operating Small to Medium Enterprises in the town, Ms Mediah Mazivofa said the local authority should revive the Craft Centre and also establish market stalls at the National Railways of Zimbabwe station.

This, she said, will help them to market and sell their wares to the tourists accessing the country by road and by rail.

She said the women and the youths must also prioritise the allocation of business stands for them to participate in economic development projects.

"We want the council to consider, the upgrading of market stalls and business facilities housing SMEs so that we can trade in a safe and enabling environment," she said.

Speaking during the same meeting, the Municipality's Financial Director, Mr Anymore Mbedzi said they were consulting the residents in sectors including women and youth, businessmen, churches, politicians, informal traders, and SMEs among others.

He said the local authority had been allocated $211 million under devolution funds for next year and that they wanted all the community's sectors to have a say on how the funds should be used.

"We have covered a lot in terms of improving service delivery through the allocation from Devolution Funds and we recognise the importance of all the stakeholders.

This is why we consulting them in their sectors to get their submissions so that we may be able to address all their needs," said Mr Mbedzi.

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