Story by Tafara Chikumira
2022 will go down as a memorable year for the Midlands Province, which attracted investments worth over a billion United States Dollars.
It was quite an eventful year on the investment front for the Midlands province after the ground-breaking ceremony for the Dinson Iron and Steel plant in Manhize.
The steel plant which will be one of the biggest steel producing plants on the African continent was commissioned by President Emmerson Mnangagwa paving way for construction works to begin.
“We are very happy as a province that we have managed to attract investments of such proportion. I don’t know if there is any other province that has managed to attract that much investment of this year. As I speak to you, there are over a 1 000 people already working there. There are other investment opportunities in the province and we are calling people from other provinces to also come and help develop the Midlands because we are open for business,” said Midlands Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Senator Larry Mavima.
With operations set to begin next year, the plant will directly employ over 1 000 employees upon completion with more investment opportunities set to be opened up.
“We are talking of huge spin offs to be accrued from this plant. We are talking all the industry which uses steel which will be interested to invest here. We are talking big businesses as vehicle producing companies will want to do business here. Think of all the big names you can dream of and we are in motion, said ZANU PF Secretary for Information and Publicity, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa.
The Midlands Province also witnessed the official opening of the world class one stop centre at Gweru General Hospital, which is set to improve the health care delivery system, as explained by Gweru General Hospital Superintendent, Dr Fabion Mashingaidze,
“We have been waiting for this huge moment as an institution. This development means we are going to decongest the outpatient department. We are also going to have doctor patient confidentiality as people with opportunistic infections are going to have their privacy especially when they come to collect their medication which is done on a regular basis.”
On the business front, several companies operating in the province expanded their operations as they sought to increase output.
BATA Shoe Company Zimbabwe invested over US$5 million towards its manufacturing plant and machinery, in sheer demonstration of confidence in the economy.
The company has also installed a polyurethane pouring plant, which will produce safety shoes that the firm has been importing.
The company further acquired two new machines namely, a Mostardini for leather platting and a Sammying machine for the processing of wet blue hides.
In Kwekwe, an explosives producing firm, Intrachem commissioned the second phase of its project which has seen the firm producing detonators.
The company invested heavily in establishing its plant which has an import substitution of US$20 million.
In terms of government’s devolution projects, several clinics and schools were commissioned including the Sherwood clinic which got assistance from the Zimbabwe National Army.
In the agriculture sector, the year saw the province surpassing the government target for winter wheat production, thereby significantly contributing to the national grain.
“As a province, we did very well in terms of our general output. We had been given a target of 6 000 hectares, but ended up sitting on over 7 000 hectares. It has been the best we have ever did in many years,” Midlands Perovincial Director Agriculture and Rural Development,Mrs Madeline Magwenzi said.
As the year unwinds, several stakeholders in the province have taken a vacation to reinvigorate and come up with fresh ideas meant to boost the province’s gross domestic product (GDP).