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Nit wants rangers’ land for industrial development

Shame Makoshori

THE National Investment Trust (Nit) will soon approach government and the Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe requesting the game rangers to cede part of large swathes of land it controls in the resort tow

n of Kariba for industrial development, businessdigest established this week.

Nit is a government investment vehicle that warehouses shares for empowerment purposes.

Kariba’s economic activities revolve around power generation, wildlife ranching, tourism, crocodile farming and commercial fishing but Nit believes the resort’s economic potential is severely underutilised.

Nit said this week a diversified industry will create more employment opportunities in that region and contribute immensely to foreign currency generation for the economy.

Industrialisation programmes being pursued by Nit will see the expansion and modernisation of old and shallow habours, improvement of storage and handling facilities and docking space through the injection of start-up capital into indigenous companies by Nit.

Nit has already started moves to secure permits to develop habours in partnership with current operators.

“Lake Kariba is the largest man-made lake with immense opportunities but most land is reserved for parks (and) wildlife purposes,” Nit CEO Aaron Jeremiah told businessdigest.

“We will engage parks to release part of its land for industrial development because we cannot have land for wildlife only in Kariba. We must empower our companies to start manufacturing, but there is little space,” Jeremiah said.

Last week, Nit presented its proposal to local authorities in Kariba.

Part of the proposal included the expansion and modernisation of habours to improve storage facilities, handling equipment and sprucing up of Kariba’s shores for tourists ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Businessdigest understands that Nit will be guided by a document prepared by Keith Guzah during his brief stay as Kariba town council commission chairman in 2003, which detailed the state of infrastructure at habours and the potential economic benefits the development of the habours will unleash.

Guzah was appointed Nit chairman last year.

There is a constant shipment of fuel, food, kapenta, tourism industry goods, cars, building materials, groceries, spares and other consignment between Kariba, Binga, Mlibizi and commercial fishing companies along the lake, estimated at more that 1000 tonnes per month.

However, Nit said the habours are not large and deep enough to handle cargo and fishing vessels.

Due to prolonged droughts, aid organisations have also been spending large amounts of money transporting relief food by road to impoverished communities in Matabeleland North and Nyaminyami when it would be cheaper to use the lake.

Business at Kariba’s habours is currently low due to subdued business in the troubled tourism industry, depressed output of kapenta fish due to ageing rigs, spares shortages, fuel supply bottlenecks and other economic problems.

Shipment of goods from Zambia has also been affected, but the Nit said it will not wait until the economy turns around to start its programmes.

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