FINANCE minister Patrick Chinamasa seems to be missing the point or has his priorities upside down as the man holding the nation’s purse.
During one of the sessions at the pre-budget conference in Victoria Falls, he intimated to the more than 300 legislators at the talk-shop that it was not only Bulawayo which was suffering from deindustrialisation.
Much to the chagrin of Bulawayo and Matabeleland legislators, Chinamasa had the temerity to say Bulawayo should not be treated as a special case, charging that deindustrialisation was countrywide.
He specifically pointed out that Rusape, Mutare and Marondera were also suffering from deindustrialisation, accusing people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland as a whole of politicising the issue.
In fact, the revival of Bulawayo industries, which has seen more than 20 000 people losing their jobs, was not on his priority list.
This is hogwash. There is no way Bulawayo can be compared to Rusape, Mutare and Marondera. Lest the minister forget, Bulawayo is the second capital with a population larger than that of Rusape, Mutare and Marondera combined.
During the colonial era, Bulawayo was referred to as the Manchester of Rhodesia largely because of its then striving textile and clothing factories which have been laid low due to government’s policy inconsistencies and mismanagement of the economy.
Lest Chinamasa forget, people from all over the country flocked to Bulawayo in search of jobs from the textile and clothing factories, namely Archer Clothing Manufacturers, Ascot Clothing, Security Mills and Merlin, to name just a few.
The firms employed several thousands of people, hence the pleas by Matabeleland legislators for the government to prioritise the revival of Bulawayo industries.
Chinamasa’s utterances that legislators and people of the region are politicising the deindustrialisation of Bulawayo does not hold water.
As the person holding the national purse, he should listen to the lawmakers.
Prioritise the revival of Bulawayo whose industries put food on the table of many people — some from Rusape, Mutare and Marondera.
We are aware of several people from Manicaland (Owasu) that are beneficiaries of Bulawayo industries.
Despite being thrown into the streets due to the collapse of industries in Bulawayo, they have remained in the city which they call home.
They want its industries revived.
Chinamasa’s priorities, or is it government, are misplaced.
He should revisit his priority list to include Bulawayo’s revival.