Story by Theophilus Chuma
GOVERNMENT has strengthened mechanisms to avert the growing crisis of drug and substance abuse through the setting up of a National Committee on the Elimination of Drugs and Substance Abuse.
Less than 24 hours after President Emmerson Mnangagwa denounced the vice that has wreaked havoc among youths, government has tasked a committee to stamp out illicit substances.
The approach tackles drug abuse at different levels as outlined in a post cabinet media briefing held in Harare this Wednesday.
“Most of the dangerous drugs and substances being abused are imported, with the traffickers acting in cahoots with local drug lords and an array of criminal elements in our society.
“Following Cabinet’s decision at its last Meeting to establish an institutional framework to decisively deal with the menace, Cabinet has decided to set up a National Committee on the Elimination of Drug and Substance Abuse.
“The Committee will be empowered to come up with systematic and sustainable responses that will assist in ensuring that society is free of drug and substance abuse,” said the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvagwa.
Among other key highlights from the cabinet briefing, a mining audit to assess operations of the mining sector is set to be implemented next month, while the Mines and Mining Development ministry has come up with another guiding principle for lithium production.
“Cabinet agreed that for a period of two months, May and June 2023, a Responsible Mining audit will be conducted countrywide. The objective of the Initiative is to ensure that all mining operations are conducted in accordance with the country’s laws. Cabinet also approved the Lithium Ore Policy and a Statutory Instrument will be issued on Lithium, she added.
Besides mining sector growth, agriculture performance is anticipated to post massive strides this year.
“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that despite the uneven start anddistribution of rains during the 2022/2023 Summer Season, the prospects for high yields now look bright, following the Crop, Livestock and Fisheries Assessment which has been completed. The estimated maize production is 2 298 281 metric tonnes (MT), a 58% increase on the 2021/2022 season,” noted Senator Mutsvangwa.
This trajectory augurs well with the US$8 billion economy targeted for the agriculture sector which will be further buttressed by a rally in tobacco earnings expected to jump 8.5 percent to US$230 million this year.