Vice-President Saulos Chilima has said the Northern Region has abundant critical factors for development: natural resources, tourism and cultural richness, saying councils should maximise and capitalise on these opportunities to develop the region into a potential economic and tourism hub.
Chilima, who is also Minister of Economic Planning and Development and Public Sector Reforms made the remarks after his “final lap” of his engagement with officials from Mzuzu City, Likoma, Karonga and Chitipa district council officials in the reforms drive at Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel on Monday.
Writing on his Facebook page after the meeting, the country’s second-in-command said in the meeting he continued to emphasise that the massive opportunities that exist in the hospitality industry, aviation, real estate and the mining sector in the North can only be activated and implemented when the local councils create a conducive environment for growth.
“For example, issues of land and business licensing must be prioritised by all councils if they are to realise the goal of financial sustainability,” he wrote.
Chilima observed that Chitipa, Karonga and Likoma as well as Mzuzu City Councils have clear and concise reform areas that with the insight of mindset change would go a long way in transforming the region.
He was impressed with Chitipa’s ambitious plans for a sustainable revenue base which includes constructing a modern bus depot and stadium as well as tapping into potential revenue generation areas such as property rates.
“I was particularly impressed with Chitipa’s idea to market the district with Misuku being one of the spots that could be turned into a serious tourist attraction area,” wrote THE VEEP.
Likoma on its part has prioritised infrastructure development as a catalyst for enhancing tourism and service delivery to the people on the island and Chilima has since urged the council to develop a master plan and cost it for submission to the central government at Capital Hill in Lilongwe and other development partners.
However, Chilima expressed concern with the growing debt of Mzuzu City Council at K1.8 billion and loss of public trust .
]But Chilima said Mzuzu City council’s drive towards financial sustainability through estate development and an automated revenue collection system “could go a long way in improving its financial standing to start embarking on projects that would satisfy the residents.”
Chilima wraps up his engagement in the North on Tuesday by meeting Rumphi, Nkhata Bay and M’mbelwa District Council.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :