A total of $3,3 billion has been budgeted for upgrading and maintaining all hospitals and clinics countrywide, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo has said.
Local authorities manage about 1 500 of the 1 700 clinics countrywide. These clinics can also benefit from the $2,9 billion being disbursed to local authorities under devolution. Government has so far disbursed $189 million leaving a balance of about $2,7 billion.
Minister Moyo, who is in charge of devolution, told the Local Government Institutional Centres of Excellence SADC Protocol Work and Awards organised by Gender Links last week: “On health l must commend that we have something like 1 700 clinics in this country and the majority of these are under you, local authorities.
“We have put $3,3 billion, which the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and partners have budgeted for to spruce up our clinics and hospitals.”
Minister Moyo urged the councils to make the most of the opportunity, which has come about as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“As local authorities please use as much as you can of the devolution funds. You are going to get all of the $2,9 billion under devolution. I know you only got $189 million, but all the $2,9 billion is going to come. Make sure every school, every clinic has some water nearby, you can drill boreholes, dig wells. This will not help just the school or clinic, but the surrounding community as well.”
Minister Moyo said infrastructure is key and councils should be championing that.
“Don’t worry about the major roads that pass through your district or your town. What you should be worrying about is the small roads that have interconnectivity with the most remote areas of your local authority,” he said.
National highways are a central Government responsibility while side roads and feeder roads are the responsibility of the local authorities.
Minister Moyo also said the devolution funds should deliberately be used for the improvement of water and sewage reticulation systems, construction of schools, clinics and social amenities.
“A lot of you abandoned your social amenities and now the Government through devolution is saying use the money to open up spaces for social amenities in the rural and urban areas,” he said.
“When l say in the rural areas, there are urbanised rural centres, your business centres, growth points, rural service centres, both in the communal and commercial farming areas. Open these up so that your children can have these social amenities as well as everyone else.”
Minister Moyo was accompanied by the Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Dr Sithembiso Nyoni among other top Government officials.