Growth points in crisis

Soon after independence in 1980, the government introduced the Intensive Rural Development Areas policy that set to establish Growth Points to avert rural-urban migration.

Over 30 years later, the majority of business centres are shells of what they once were. Mabhiza business centre in Chipinge is now a dilapidated building were donkeys can take refuge from the sun. A handful of shops remain, but business is poor.

“We are struggling to stay afloat as business is bad,” said Aaron Zikhuzo, who runs a small bottle store at Mabhiza. Zikhuzo added that they only relied on teachers and nurses who shop there at the end of the month. On an average day they get no more than $10 in sales.

“Teachers are our biggest customers because at least they have a regular source of income every month,” he said. Even then, most of them buy on credit.

A bottle store owner at the same business centre, Phillip Mubonesi, said beer halls were not spared. “We no longer sell pints or wine because villagers do not buy them. They buy opaque beer which is cheaper,” he added. A basic goods shop owner, Tobias Mabhoko, said villagers were not buying much because they no longer earned enough money.

“We used to record high sales during the cotton selling season, but the situation has changed,” said Mabhoko.

A local business owner, Robert Tsoka, blamed the multi-currency regime for the hard times they were facing. “The US dollar is very hard to get and that’s why people can no longer afford the things they used to buy,” Tsoka said.

Post published in: News
  1. Onai Muchechetere

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