GOVERNMENT has provided an additional $700 million top up on the $168,7 million allocated for rural development by the ministry of finance in this year’s budget.

Speaking at the Association of the Rural District Councillors meeting in Harare yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said rural councils were the backbone of the country.

“We gave you more than $168,7 million for devolution and rural development, again we have added $700 million. If there is drought in our rural areas the whole country will suffer from starvation and so the people from rural areas must be taken care of,” Mnangagwa said.

He claimed people from the countryside were disciplined and cannot be matched with those in urban areas.

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“Did you see any demonstration at rural areas? Did you see rural people putting stones and burn tyres on roads? So people are those from the rural areas; so a clever government must look after those from the rural areas,” Mnangagwa said.

He also urged the rural councillors to listen to the problems given to them by people who voted for them and bring those problems to the national leadership for them to be solved.

Mnangagwa further told rural council chief executives to construct and repair roads saying there are 100 new buses on the way to be deployed to rural areas.

On prices of goods and services, Mnangagwa said he was now unleashing his “marinated” whip on retailers saying there is no justification on increasing prices.

“We talked about Silo shops a long time ago, but now we have money to operate those shops and there are only seven things we are targeting which we want to sell in these shops mealie meal: Sugar, cooking oil, salt and other basic things needed,” he said.

On the electricity, Mnangagwa said the country was now receiving 400 megawatts from South Africa and Mozambique as well as Zambia.