Desmond Munemo, H-Metro Reporter
Government’s commitment to the revival of state enterprises and parastatals has taken a new direction in enhancing the tourism industry said acting President VP Chiwenga addressing delegates at the delivery of the Boeing B777-200ER.
“On behalf of the government of Zimbabwe I welcome you all to this important occasion to witness the delivery of the Boeing B777-200ER from Malaysia for use by our national airline Air Zimbabwe.
“Distinguished guests, the Government commitment to the revival of state enterprises and parastatal has taken a new direction and a new thrust.
“As you may all recall, state enterprise and parastatals used to contribute around 40% the country’s gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“Unfortunately most, if not all of the public entities have suffered from a host of challenges including the economic decline caused by illegal sanctions imposed upon us by determined and unashamed perpetrators of underdevelopment nations in third world countries.
“These unforgiving sanctions have rendered most of the equipment in the aviation industry unserviceable due to shortages of spare parts and other ancillary equipment which should be imported from the external suppliers.
“We are here today to receive this vital government asset.
“We take cognizance and acknowledge the important role that aviation plays as one of the global industries connecting people, cultures and business across continents.
“Thus this asset comes at a crucial moment for the country as we aim to increase the amount of trade and business in line with our far reaching mantra that “Zimbabwe is open for business”.
“Receipt of this B777 aircraft is a clear testimony that we are taking steps to capacitate our national airline so that it plays its role in promoting economic growth, creating jobs and facilitating international trade and tourism.
“This initiative is therefore part of our efforts towards the realization of our vision 2030 as informed by our economic blueprint the Transition Stabilization Program.
“Government remains committed to ensuring that our beloved national airline is restored to full functionality.
“The tourism industry is currently one of the low hanging fruits of this country and many others.
“In that vein, the present and future Zimbabwe . . . rests with the proper branding of the country as a safe and reliable destination of choice, where people from all parts of the world visit and wish to stay forever.
“I challenge all of us to play a part in Team Zimbabwe so that we make tourism the cogwheel that will drive our economy forward. As all of us may be aware, Tourism is now a billion dollar industry which depends on movement of large volumes of people in and out of the country.
“This requires that the country should have a viable airline to deliver these tourists to and from all over the country’s tourism destinations.
“Hence the revival of Air Zimbabwe cannot be over-emphasized.
“As we hand over this asset to the airline, we call upon the administrator to use it in the most effective manner possible. As government, we remain ready to support the airline where necessary.
“I wish to point out that I am fully aware that this aircraft is best deployed on long hour routes.
“In light of this it is therefore necessary for all stakeholders and partners involved to work together to ensure that this is possible.
“I am also aware that there are some players who have shown interest in partnering the national airline and we welcome them all on board.
“Such types of engagements provide traction in our efforts to recapitalize the national airline to become a regional and international competitor of note,” said acting President Chiwenga.
He concluded by urging the Air Zimbabwe team to utilize the aircraft for the benefit of the nation and not to compromise the airline’s reputation.