By Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has said central government is in the process of working on modalities to avail funds to local authorities for improved service delivery as councils have been struggling to provide services to people.
Mnangagwa made the remarks in Gweru, Friday.
“In view of the evident shortcomings of the local authorities to collect and prudently utilise resources of rate payers my government is in the process of availing financial resources for the improvement of water and sewer reticulation systems, rehabilitation of and development of roads, ICTS, refuse removal and public lighting among others. We have decided as central government that most of our local urban councils including rural councils are facing challenges there is no need and it is not wise to leave anyone behind or any community behind hence we have decided already as central government to extend our support to, local authorities, urban councils where we see you are focused on development we give you the support,” he said.
The President said he was encouraged with how devolution funds are being utilised by the local authorities.
Under the devolution programme, local authorities are allocated funds by the central government, which they use according to the developmental needs of their jurisdictions.
The government has touted the programme as one key pillar of developing vibrant provincial economies and rural industries as it moves to attain an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“Meanwhile, it is encouraging that devolution funds availed under the devolution and centralization programme have resulted to beneficial people centred projects if you continue using them, in these prudent manner we will increase. Let us not tire in continuing this positive course so that all citizens across the country with both rural and urban local authorities have access to reliable services
“Going forward I have tasked the minister responsible for local government, finance, public service and representatives from my office to continually review our inter-governmental fiscal transfer model. Notwithstanding, these local authorities must be proactive and scale up efforts to collect revenue and prioritise implementation programmes and project the residents and rate payers of Gweru deserve better should see values for the rates, fees and charges that they pay. Fortunately granted the status given me I will not pay rates, I will not pa parking g fees I don’t pay for a stand,” he said.
Mnangagwa also encouraged local authorities to aim to engage with progressive cities and exchange notes.
“I also challenge on the local authorities to ride on my government’s engagement and re-engagement policies to establish partnerships and twinning arrangements that will leap frog governance systems within your local authorities. You should through your Ministry of Local Government twin Gweru City to progressive well advanced cities, it’s not wise to go and twin with a city behind you in terms of development. In the context of provincial economies both rural and urban councils must equally investment opportunities towards the growth of provincial GDP, capital goals were it feels safe, hence I challenge you to improve your ease of doing business environment in line with national parameters and global best practices,” he said.
Mnangagwa also encouraged local authorities to continually engage residents.
“As you do so always keep residents continually engaged and develop openly as opposed to restricting interactions within them during the budget formulation process only. The residents must be engaged from January to December not when you want money from them. As we entrench our democracy, participatory governance and private sector in our country our people’s voice must be heard and their voice taken on board. Voice of people is the voice of God, do not leave your people behind,” he said.