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‘Scale up devolution budget’

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BY NQOBANI NDLOVU

BULAWAYO residents have called on Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to allocate more resources towards devolution to ensure that the concept is fully implemented in line with the country’s Constitution.

This was said by participants during the 2022 national budget consultations by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance and the Thematic Committee on Sustainable Development Goals.

Devolution is provided for under Chapter 12 of the 2013 Constitution, with section 268 of the charter providing for the establishment of provincial councils in the country’s provinces.

However, to date, there is no enabling Act to operationalise devolution despite government approving principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration (Amendment) Bill.

Analysts have said the failure by government to implement devolution was because bureaucrats were afraid of losing political power.

“As far as we are concerned, devolution should be the top priority of the national budget to enable its full implementation. There is only one thing holding the country back from progress, and that is non implementation of full devolution,” a participant Patrick Ndlovu said.

“Implement devolution and everything else will just fall into place. Even the electoral reforms will be useless without implementing devolution.”

In 2021, Ncube allocated $19,5 billion towards devolution, to be shared among the country’s 10 provinces.

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development representative Yollander Millin said the budget was not even enough to cater for Bulawayo’s budget needs.

“The 2022 budget should provide more money for devolution. The budget allocated to devolution is not even enough to cover Bulawayo’s budget which requires $27,4 billion,” Millin said.

“Local people should benefit more from these devolution funds. People opted for devolution and that stance must be adopted through adequate budgetary allocations.”

Other participants said there was need to allocate more money towards social services, health, education and infrastructure.

They said underfunding of the country’s social services has led to the collapse of the country’s infrastructure, especially the health sector which has been hit by staff shortages.

The call for more budgetary allocations towards devolution was shared by many participants.

Follow Nqobani on Twitter @NqobaniNdlovu

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