Devolution funds improve implementation of projects

By ZBC Reporter
DISBURSEMENT of devolution funds to rural local authorities in Matabeleland South Province has greatly improved the implementation of developmental projects which were being hampered by budgetary constraints.
The 2020 National Budget set aside ZWL$2,93 billion for devolution projects to be carried out countrywide.
Delivery of quality education in Filabusi was being compromised by the shortage of primary schools in the area, Insiza Rural District Council could not build a new facility to decongest the existing school.
However, thanks to the disbursement of 7 million dollars under the devolution fund last year, a new school Bekezela primary is already at an advanced stage of construction after council committed 1,2 million dollars towards the project.
Insiza Rural District Council Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fedris Manombe said: “We received ZWL $7 million and 50 dollars in four disbursements of which the bulk went to the construction of Bekezela primary school. We also allocated part of the funds to Montrose 7 clinic which was a farmhouse, Mbodo clinic, Ngungazi dam and six schools were renovated. The remainder of the funds went to the improvement of social amenities and the purchase of a tipper truck.”
For Umzingwane Rural District Council, the plan for 2019 was to increase its capacity to improve service delivery through the acquisition of various equipment and machinery.
The local authority‘s engineer, Thokozani Gama said council had been spending a large chunk of its budget in outsourcing equipment for road maintenance, hence the decision to invest in its assets using part of the 3 million dollars they received.
“We were spending a lot of money in hiring road equipment hence we saw it fit to first improve our capacity as a council, then this year our focus will be on projects that directly benefit the communities, although road maintenance is also part of community development,” said Gama.
The devolution funds were also channeled towards the construction of tower lights and refurbishing social services infrastructure.
The Acting Chief Director for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mrs Bakani implored local authorities to ensure that projects that have been in the pipeline for years are given priority.
“I want to encourage you to try and finish old projects before you embark on new ones. Also, ensure that your projects have a real impact on the communities out there because this is what devolution is all about,” said Bakani.
The Minister of State Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Abednico Ncube, who visited the two districts to assess progress made in the implementation of devolution projects, said the government programme is meant to ensure that communities drive development in their areas, which is key in the attainment of vision 2030.
“For us to be an upper-middle-class economy it means transformation should begin at grassroots level by ensuring that citizens have access to basic needs and are engaged in productive activities that grow our provincial and national economy,” he said.
The two local authorities are looking forward to use their allocation to also further improve service delivery with the government having allocated ZWL $54 million for Insiza and $ 21 million dollars for Umzingwane.