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By Tendai Mugabe
Implementation of devolution enjoins central Government to release funds for provincial budgets to ensure that areas lagging behind in terms of development are prioritised, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister July Moyo has said.
Further, there will be no conflict in terms of operations between the Provincial Ministers of State and the provincial councils.
In an interview with The Herald on Friday, Cde Moyo said the Provincial Ministers of State were part of the national executive and appointed in terms of the Constitution to ensure that Government is closer to the people.
“On the financial aspect, there are key issues that have to be addressed,” said Cde Moyo.
“The first one is the capital budgets that must be given to all provincial councils as well as the 92 local authorities so that we can look after your roads, sewerage and water and central Government has to assist in this endeavour.
“The second aspect is we are looking at marginalised areas and by marginalisation we think that where services have lagged behind, whether those services are schools or clinics or those services is electricity or sewerage, again the Government is called upon in the Constitution to make sure that monies are voted for by Parliament through Government, through the Ministry of Finance so that we can uplift the standards of living of our people.
“In specific terms, the President is now calling for GDPs (Gross Domestic Products) and in order to come up with GDPs that means all your economic ministries including the Ministry of Finance, your Industry and Commerce, your Agriculture and your Mining must come up with assets that can contribute to the GDP of an area. So for the first time, we are saying let us disaggregate our GDP. Let us not just look at Zimbabwe’s GDP. Let us not just look at Zimbabwe’s gross per capita income. Let us look at per capita income of every one of those 92 local authorities and if we do that we will be able to show that this one is lagging behind and this one is okay.”
“The Provincial Minister is a minister appointed by the President in terms of the Constitution, in terms of what mandate they are given. They are part of the Executive of the national Government. They are de-concentrated to the provinces through the decentralisation principle so that at least there is Government near the people. He or she is an executive of Central Government. They are appointed in the same manner as a minister who is running a ministry.
“They are appointed in the same manner of a Minister of State in the Office of Vice President (Kembo) Mohadi or (Constantino) Chiwenga. They are appointed in the same manner deputy ministers are appointed. The President is given powers to appoint his Executive and that is what he has done. The provincial council becomes the Parliament of that area in our view.
“It has powers to legislate certain aspects that are particular to that area and the Constitution also allows them in some cases to, say, look after tourism, planning, coordination. If you are in Matabeleland North, you have local authorities such as Victoria Falls, Lupane, Nkayi, Umguza, Binga, Bubi and Hwange. Those need to be coordinated by these provincial councils because there are certain services that are going to cut across the boundaries of these authorities so coordination and planning is necessary and that is what the provincial councils are called upon to do.”
This is where Government would spell out the political mechanisms of devolution.
“Through devolution we can then concentrate our resources and our political muscles to uplift that area, so the President is already calling for that GDP,” said Minister Moyo.
“That means we also have to re-arrange the whole of central Government machinery where ZIMRA was not telling us what income was coming out of Bulawayo, in order to come up with GDP, now it is forced to do so. Where mining was not telling us what comes out of Umguza, for instance, how much it is contributing to the GDP of the country and what it is also doing for the communities in Umguza. So when we start to know how much gold is contributed from Umguza or Bubi, we start to say how much of that money is going to the community in Bubi or Umguza. So that is, in a nutshell, devolution.”