‘Ministry to strengthen devolution agenda’

FINANCE and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said the criteria used by Government in allocating devolution funds is in the process of being reviewed to ensure equitable distribution of resources.

The devolution agenda operationalised by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa has assisted previously marginalised areas in realising their full potential in service delivery.

The policy is one of the major anchors of unity which encompasses inclusive development to promote representative, accountable, participatory, inclusive governance and socio-economic development

Devolution was adopted as a key component of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe which promotes democratic participation in Government by all citizens and communities and “devolution of power and responsibilities to lower tiers of Government in Zimbabwe”.

Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs have been tasked with championing development programmes in their provinces.

The discharge of that mandate is being closely monitored by the Office of the President and Cabinet.

Speaking in Parliament during a question-and-answer session, Prof Ncube said consultations between Government and relevant stakeholders are underway to review the formula.

“The current inter-Governmental fiscal transfer allocation for devolution funds is based on the agreed formula, which takes into account poverty incidences, population size and also the infrastructure deficit in each of the provinces.

“However, consultations are underway, with the key stakeholders to review this formula so that it incorporates the base mix to ensure optimal equity is achieved,” he said.

Prof Ncube said while sharing resources, Government takes into account areas in desperate need.

“I would like to assure you that the Government always tries to ensure there is an equitable distribution of resources across our provinces. Of course, as we share these resources, we also take into account areas of desperate need,” he said.

The minister said under the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP2), every province has an opportunity to see an important road or a national road being attended to. Under ERRP2, Government is undertaking extensive infrastructural development projects through the construction, upgrading and rehabilitation of roads to enhance the transportation of goods and people in line with Vision 2030.

Prof Ncube said the 2022 National Budget has also allocated resources that ensure health institutions are provided for with minimum standard equipment package for each level of care with contracts worth US$8,7 million having been signed.

He said the logistical arrangements towards delivery of the equipment is already underway.

“In addition, Government is constructing and upgrading various hospitals and clinics. We have got Lupane Provincial Hospital, Mpilo Hospital and Victoria Chitepo Provincial Hospital,” said Prof Ncube.

“Also, we are building additional mini hospitals. We have the first one built in Harare South in the Hopley area. It is a fantastic mini-hospital with state-of-the-art equipment and the next one is being built in Cowdray Park, and it is now at roof level.”

The 60-bed state-of-the-art polyclinic, which the Government in partnership with a United Kingdom health organisation is constructing in Cowdray Park suburb, is expected to be completed by end of October.

The polyclinic is expected to boost the suburb’s health care provision and bring health services closer to residents of Cowdray Park, Bulawayo’s largest suburb with more than 16 000 households.

“The next will be built in Zvishavane and that is also going to start soon. After Zvishavane, we go to Runyararo in Chimanimani before moving to Hwedza and then Umzingwane,” said Prof Ncube.

Government, in partnership with NMS Infrastructure Limited, a British company, is building 30 polyclinics around the country through a US$200 million loan facility from the United Kingdom government.

The minister said the health facilities will be built systematically in the next few months.

Responding to a question raised by Kambuzuma legislator Mr William Madzimure on the alignment of the National Budget to the National Development Strategy (NDS1), Prof Ncube said the budget priority areas and programmes are derived from the economic blueprint.

“It is important to note that not all NDS1 projects and programmes can be implemented in a single fiscal year since the NDS1 is a medium-term economic blueprint, which will be implemented on a multi-ear approach,” he said.

“In that regard, Government is in consultation with all stakeholders including parliamentarians to identify priority areas to be implemented during each fiscal year for the five-year period.”

Prof Ncube said Government is also making every effort to tame inflation and limit it to the Sadc benchmarks in the medium term.

According to Zimstat, the official statistical agency, the country’s inflation stood at 256,9 percent as of last month.

“Already you have seen some good results from the recent principal measures on month-on-month inflation which is beginning to turn downwards,” said Prof Ncube.

The minister said the economic transformation agenda under the NDS1, has seen transformation in the infrastructure space, road construction and dam construction.

“We are seeing slow burn transformation in the energy supply infrastructure sub- sector. We have seen even transformation in the management of public finances and it shows that we have now been upgraded in terms of budget transparency,” he said.

“We are now number three in Africa, after South Africa, Berlin and Zimbabwe. We have seen transformation all the way and we will see more going forward.”Herald

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