LOCAL authorities are struggling to complete projects under devolution funds due to underfunding from central government.
Chairperson of the Association of Rural District Councils (RDCs), Sheila Mugabe, said this during a meeting of mayors and council chairpersons held in Harare on Wednesday.
According to Mugabe, the parent ministry is underfunding devolution projects.
“We have a lot of unfinished projects that local authorities are carrying out, failing to complete projects funded by the devolution funds due to non-disbursement of allocated funds, non-monitoring of the projects, and undertaking unapproved projects,” Mugabe said.
Section 301(3) of the Constitution provides that at least 5% of the national budget in any financial year be allocated to local authorities to fund devolution projects.
From the funds allocated, 90% should go towards construction and infrastructural projects to spur growth in regional economies.
In the 2024 national budget, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube proposed an increase in the devolution budget to ZWL$195,5 billion.
Mugabe, however, said they had not been receiving the funds on time and in full.
Local authorities have been complaining over the late disbursement of devolution funds by Treasury, resulting in failure to provide efficient services at a time when prices of goods and services are going up as the local currency keeps losing value.
Local Government minister, Winston Chitando, however, urged collaboration among local authorities to improve service delivery.
“Strong devolution provisions have been found to effectively foster relationships between local authorities and respect the divisions of devolution,” Chitando said.
Devolution is provided for under Chapter 12 of the Constitution.
However, to date, there is no enabling Act to operationalise devolution despite government approving principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration (Amendment) Bill.