BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO residents have called on Finance minister Mthuli Ncube to allocate more resources towards devolution to ensure its full implementation in line with the Constitution.
The call was made yesterday during a 2022 national budget consultative meeting held 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 Constitution with section 268 of the charter providing for the establishment of provincial councils.
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 failure by government officials to implement devolution was due to fear of losing political power.
“As far as we are concerned, devolution should be the top priority of the national budget to enable its implementation. There is only one thing holding the country back from progress, and that is non-implementation of devolution,” a participant, Patrick Ndlovu, said.
“Implement devolution and everything else will 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 (Zimcodd) representative Yollander Millin said the budget was not enough to cater for Bulawayo’s budget.
“The 2022 budget should provide more money for devolution. The budget allocated to devolution is not enough to cover Bulawayo’s budget which requires $27,4 billion. Local people should benefit more from these devolution funds. People opted for devolution and that stance must be adopted through adequate budgetary allocations,” Millin said. Other participants said there was need to allocate more money towards health, education and infrastructure development.
They said underfunding of the country’s social services led to the collapse of the country’s infrastructure, especially the health sector which has been hit by staff shortages.