Fungai Lupande Mash Central Bureau
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga yesterday urged cooperatives to take advantage of national projects and provide goods and services to enable them to grow into big companies.
Addressing cooperatives from all the provinces in the country and hundreds of people who gathered at Bindura Primary School for this year’s International Day of Cooperatives commemoration, VP Chiwenga said national projects like the urban renewal programme, which seeks to modernise old and run-down suburbs, will create 25 000 indirect jobs which small to medium enterprises firms should take advantage of.
“The President was in Mutare commissioning the Sakubva Urban Renewal Project. The President said the project will directly employ 20 000 people and 25 000 indirectly.
“Take advantage of such big projects. I urge cooperatives not to confine themselves to low income primary production activities, but also venture into value addition in the secondary and tertiary production sector,” said VP Chiwenga.
He also urged artisanal miners to form cooperatives to benefit their members who are mostly youths and denounced the spirit of individualism and violence perpetrated by machete-wielding criminals.
VP Chiwenga said Government would deal decisively with the machete gangs.
He commended housing cooperatives for playing a significant role in providing decent accommodation to the nation, but warned corrupt land barons that stern measures would be taken to protect citizens.
“Most cities and towns have vibrant housing cooperatives that took up the challenge to augment efforts of local authorities in providing affordable housing.
“At least 165 300 houses were built throughout the country by cooperatives from 2010 to mid-2019. However, corrupt individuals and institutions, the so called land barons invaded cooperatives and hijacked the noble cause of the people to build their own houses.”
VP Chiwenga urged the Zimbabwe National Cooperatives Federation to put preventive measures and guidelines to govern the operations of their members.
Government would ensure that local authorities amended unfavourable by-laws to curb the slow issuance of title deeds to housing cooperatives.
Vice President Chiwenga said cooperatives in the agriculture sector were doing well towards contributing to the development of the country.
“Notable contributions of agricultural cooperatives are in horticulture, livestock, honey production, mushroom production and dairy farming. In the 2017 to 2018 agriculture season cooperatives produced 64 560 tonnes of maize and 27 240 tonnes of tobacco.”
Fishing cooperatives were contributing to the reduction of poverty in most provinces where the Government’s command fisheries programme had empowered communities and brought economic transformation.