The Sunday Mail
Sunday Mail Reporter
FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube last week doubled the financial allocation towards the devolution programme as the Government moves with renewed speed and vigour to facilitate community-led development.
Presenting the 2022 National Budget in Parliament last week, Prof Ncube set aside $42,5 billion for devolution up from $19,5 billion that was set aside for the current financial year.
He said the funds will be directed primarily towards transport and related infrastructure, education, health, electricity, social amenities, water and sanitation projects.
While the Covid-19 has necessitated the reprioritisation of spending from infrastructure development, authorities have ring-fenced funding for high-impact localised projects that stimulate economic development.
“Furthermore, through the inter-governmental fiscal (devolution) allocation, an amount of $42,5 billion, being 5 percent of total revenues, will be disbursed to all local authorities for implementation of impactful community infrastructure projects,” Prof Ncube said.
In 2019, the Government allocated $310 million towards devolution, while $2,9 billion was set aside in 2020. The Government has identified key pillars of infrastructure development to underpin devolution over the next five years.
Most urban local authorities have channelled devolution funds towards water and sanitation. Harare is currently rehabilitating the Morton Jaffray Water Works to help increase water supply in the capital using the funds allocated under the programme.
The Bulawayo City Council is rehabilitating the Ncema and Fernhill pump stations. The two cities have perennial water supply problems. Rural districts councils have focused on developing education, health and road infrastructure.
Last year, Prof Ncube singled out Makonde district as the best performing local authority at utilising devolution funds.