Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
THE Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage, Cde Abednico Ncube, has urged local authorities to embrace the 30/70 salaries to service delivery budget ratio in line with government policy.
He said poor budgeting and planning has seen many rural local authorities failing to deliver services countrywide.
The Minister said this during the commissioning of Masera Secondary School, some 70km west of Beitbridge town, which was funded by World Vision Zimbabwe.
“Government continues to note with concern that the majority of rural local authorities are struggling to meet statutory remittances whilst accruing backlogs in salaries, pensions and other obligations, “said Cde Ncube.
“To mitigate against the foregoing, councils are being urged to comply with 30/70 budget ratio of salaries to service delivery as stipulated by the ministry.
In the same vein, it is important that councils engage creditors to come up with viable payment plans in order to pay off the debts.”
He said 70 percent of the country’s population lives in rural areas, hence the need for central government and rural district councils to focus on developing rural areas.
The Minister said most rural areas were still lagging behind in terms of economic opportunities, infrastructure development, and access to social and related services among others.
He said his Ministry was working on ensuring that an enabling policy environment is nurtured to facilitate sustainable development.
“On the other hand, rural local authorities play a pivotal role in national development through an effective and participatory social service delivery system.
However, it is of paramount importance that councils, in their planning processes, take on board the wishes and aspirations of the communities so that services are responsive to their needs,” said Cde Ncube.
He said consultation was critical in order to have a buy-in and acceptance of council programmes by people.
The Minister said transparency and accountability to residents and ratepayers also helps councils to work in harmony with residents.
“We congratulate the leadership of Beitbridge rural district council, its partners and the community for working together in investing in the future of our children through the construction of Masera Secondary School, “he said.
Beitbridge West Constituency legislator, Mrs Metrine Mudau, said the construction of the secondary school will go a long way in addressing some of the challenges related to access to education.
She said before the construction of the four blocks school, children in the area walked for over 15km to the nearest secondary school.
“This is a welcome development which will help reduce cases of early childhood pregnancies and sexual abuse in this area. Cases of juvenile delinquencies were among those children living without guardians in several areas, where they were accessing secondary education,”said Mrs Mudau.
She urged government and its partners to consider building more secondary schools in the district and to improve access to water at existing schools.
World Vision Zimbabwe’s regional manager for Matabeleland, Mr Shepherd Dhlamini, said they had spent $120 000 on the school, while villagers and commercial farmers contributed other resources.