Don’t abuse devolution funds, councils told

Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government has warned local authorities against abusing the $310 million allocated in the 2019 National Budget for devolution programmes saying the funds should be used to develop infrastructure and other service delivery initiatives.

In a speech read on his behalf by Deputy Minister Jennifer Mhlanga at the Zimbabwe Infrastructure Summit in Harare yesterday, Local Government Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo said all corrupt individuals will face the full wrath of the law.

“Under the auspices of the Office of the President, all corrupt individuals are facing the full wrath of the law as we know the law takes time, but justice will be served. Government is unveiling the five percent grant from the national purse to cascade down to provinces.”

He said the money is going to be disbursed through local authorities and this year Government had budgeted $310 million.

“We expect that these funds will be channelled towards infrastructure development. This is the beginning of addressing through local authorities the infrastructure deficit that we have in terms of our aged water infrastructure, sewer infrastructure as well as lightning and waste management. We hope that devolution will capacitate local authorities to upgrade infrastructure.”

He said the main thrust of the new dispensation is infrastructure development through all financing models available such as public private partnerships which saw all parastatals being asked to take that route for mitigation on reliance on bail outs from public funds.

Minister Moyo said another route was the Build-Operate-and-Transfer model adding that Government was open to all forms of funding for infrastructure development.

Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development Magna Mudyiwa said Government’s vision was to turn Zimbabwe into an upper middle income economy by 2030 in the interim guided by the Transitional Stabilisation Programme.

“With the cost of addressing the power infrastructure supply needs of Zimbabwe is $8 billion, the Government alone cannot foot the bill. Therefore a clarion call for private sector participation is fundamental. We are open to all models of funding PPPs and BOT,” she said.

In a speech read on his behalf by hydrologist Mr Zvikomborero Manyangadze, Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Perrance Shiri said the country has approximately 170 000 hectares under irrigation and Government aims to increase land under irrigation to 220 000 hectares through establishment of new irrigation schemes and infrastructure including boreholes and centre pivots.

Transport and Infrastructural Development Deputy Minister Fortune Chasi said there were numerous opportunities in road, railway and aviation sectors.

“We are at the epicentre of development. We are working passionately to ensure that we have transmission mechanisms for our economy in terms of goods and services. Primarily our roads infrastructure in particular has got to speak to our economic policy. Without a sound road network we cannot achieve Vision 2030.”

source:the herald

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