By Walter Mswazie
Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Ezra Chadzamira says the devolution crusade is on track and a number of programmes are being implemented despite delays in crafting the much-awaited Bill.
Parliament is yet to craft the Devolution Bill despite it getting a nod from President Mnangagwa and Cabinet.
In an interview, Minister Chadzamira said the province had received part of its share under the $310 million devolution fund allocated by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube in the 2019 National Budget Statement.
He said while the issue of the devolution Bill had a bearing on the setting up of provincial council structures, a lot of ground had been covered.
“We are continuing with devolution programmes despite the stalling of the devolution Bill. The Bill should have been passed in Parliament, but it is taking time,” said Minister Chadzamira.
He said the province had already trained economists to assist in the administration of devolution programmes.
“All the nine local authorities have received their share with Masvingo City getting at least $2 million. I am told the councils have started utilising the money with others attending to water infrastructure and social amenities. A number of meetings are being held at both provincial and district level to evaluate progress, as we see no reason for waiting,” he said.
“We, however, have capital projects which still need Government approval and they form part of our devolution agenda. Once the Government approves projects from Tugwi-Mukosi Dam, we will be home and dry. We are also happy that the ongoing dualisation projects, currently at Mvuma, will help us in meeting the devolution targets.”
Among the projects, he said, the province was constructing roads, indicating that each district had more than 50km of road being surfaced.
He said most of the road infrastructure projects were 60 percent complete while a number of districts were constructing clinics and schools.
Government availed $310 million in the 2019 National Budget which most provinces have started utilising.
Professor Ncube has said the allocations will be increased in the next cycle.
Chiredzi Rural District Council has so far received the lion’s share of $43,2 million while Mwenezi RDC was second after getting slightly over $3 million.
Allocations for other local authorities, so far include Bikita ($2,8 million), Gutu ($2,8 million), Zaka ($2,9 million), Masvingo ($2,7 million) and Chivi ($2,8 million).
A further $9 million from the devolution funds was yet to be operationalised by the provincial council.