A PARLIAMENTARY Portfolio committee has called for an increased funding for rural industrialisation efforts in Zimbabwe as part of the wider national devolution agenda.
In a report tabled before Parliament, the committee on Industry and Commerce said rural areas have been left behind despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s “leaving no one behind” mantra.
“More funds are needed to accelerate rural industrialisation given that the majority of the people live in the rural areas. This programme speaks to devolution and the idea of living no place and no one behind,” the report presented by committee chairperson Ngoni Madekunye read in part.
“The ministry (of Finance) should be allocated at least 0,6% of the budget given the task of optimising and modernising value chains which is critical in attaining National Development Strategy.”
Devolution is provided for in the constitution.
However, the government has been accused of lacking the political will for the full operationalisation of devolution as no enabling Act has been put in place to date.
Finance minister Mthuli Ncube allocates funds for projects to be run under devolution, but councils have often complained that the money is either too little or is disbursed very late when it has already been chewed by inflation.
The committee also spoke on the need to remodel projects funded by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).
“IDC has a proposed project which cost about US$25 million. The committee recommends that this project be ring-fenced from the general operations of IDC and be directly funded,” the committee’s report read.
“If this project is to be successfully implemented it has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of Pfumvudza and the cost of fertilisers by 50%.”
Madekunye said the Industry and Commerce ministry continued to be underfunded despite the critical role it plays to promote sustainable economic growth and elevate our status to an upper middle-income nation by 2030.
Madekunye said to ensure the successful realisation of these goals, it is imperative that the treasury increase its budgetary support for the Industry and Commerce ministry.
“By allocating adequate funds and ensuring their timely disbursement, we can facilitate the necessary investments and initiatives that will drive industrial growth and contribute to our overall economic prosperity.”