Bulawayo Bureau – The Herald Newspaper
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube says he is in the process of mapping the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per district and the exercise is expected to be complete by year end.
GDP is the total monetary or market value of all the finished goods and services produced within an area.
As part of Government’s devolution agenda, Prof Ncube said the country needs to know the economic value of each district as this will help in projecting economic growth.
He was speaking on Sunday during a Matabeleland North Zanu PF Provincial Coordinating Committee (PCC) meeting where he outlined infrastructural development projects that Government is embarking on in the resource rich province.
Prof Ncube said Government has budgeted money for infrastructure projects in Matabeleland North to transform the province in line with the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS 1). The projects include roads, hospitals, housing and schools among others.
Government, he said, was embarking on a ground breaking initiative in Africa of mapping the GDP of each district in the country.
“By December I would have produced a document outlining the GDP district by district. So Umguza District, I will give you your GDP, Lupane the same thing. We are doing this so that we understand the nature and extent of our economy at local levels. This will inform us of the projects that we should undertake for us to grow our economy. We have a GDP at national level, at provincial level and at district level. And it’s the first time we are going to be doing that we have never done before and I don’t know of any country in Africa that is doing what I’m doing. We would be the first,” said Prof Ncube.
The minister said Matabeleland North has a GDP of about US$1,2 billion and there is scope to develop further the provincial economy.
“On devolution and decentralisation, what I want to say about GDP is that the size of the economy of Matabeleland North is about US$1,2 billion. So, we want this GDP to increase. At the moment per individual, it is about US$1333 equivalent. We want this to change because we have said for us to be an upper middle economy this US$1333 figure must increase to US$3500 to US$4000,” he said.
“We still have a journey towards growing the economy but according to my projections this journey should be short because this province is rich in resources. This province has mines, tourism and all other resources. So, we will reach this goal.”
Prof Ncube said Treasury has allocated $1,5 billion in devolution funds to Matabeleland North Province and the funds will be distributed across local authorities.
“In terms of devolution funds, we allocated Matabeleland North $1,5 billion. Victoria Falls municipality is getting $84 million, Hwange Local Board $101 million, Lupane Local Board $118 million, Umguza Rural District Council (RDC) $163,6 million, Bubi RDC $154 million, Nkayi RDC $193 million, Tsholotsho RDC $189 million, Binga RDC $208,4 million, Kusile RDC $182 million, Hwange $141 million. There are also additional funds that are allocated at provincial level and the province gets $169,2 million,” said Prof Ncube.
He said Government was committed to bringing development to communities and devolution funds must be used for constructing roads, building schools, health delivery as well as attending to water and sewer reticulation issues, health delivery among other issues that affect people.