Residents deliberate on devolution

RESIDENTS associations from across the country converge in Bulawayo for a two-day summit beginning today, to deliberate on how devolution will affect development in their respective areas.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

The summit is co-hosted by the Bulawayo Residents’ Association (BPRA) and the Combined Harare Residents’ Association (CHRA).

BPRA acting co-ordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu said the summit would discuss issues of concern to residents, including devolution of power, the role of declaration of assets in promoting integrity in local authorities, participatory budgeting and service delivery.

“The gathering of residents’ representatives from across Zimbabwe came at a time when government has approved principles for devolution and when declaration of assets as a means of combating corruption has become a topical issue,” Ndlovu told Southern Eye.

“It expected that the summit will culminate in the production of position papers on devolution of power and declaration of assets, which will be submitted to the Local Government, Public Works and National Housing ministry.”

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube, in his 2019 National Budget, allocated $310 million to facilitate devolution in line with the Constitution. Provincial councils will be allocated 5% of government revenue.

The budget allocation follows a government move to approve the Principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill, which spells out the mechanisms of decentralisation and devolution.

“In addition, the summit will map out strategies to promote probity in management of the resources of local authorities through exercising an oversight function over local authorities on the one hand and on the other educating residents to be responsible in their use of facilities and in payment of rates,” he said.

“The summit is based on the premise that some local challenges need national level advocacy, as they require addressing national policies relating to local governance.”

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