Call to enact Provincial Councils Act to boost resource allocation Chief Director Spatial Planning and Development in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Mr Shingirayi Mushamba, responds to questions raised during the Portfolio Committee on Local Government and National Housing and the Thematic Committee on Culture and Heritage induction workshop in Bulawayo

Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, [email protected]

LEGISLATORS should call for the urgent enactment of the Provincial Councils Act to enhance decentralisation and effective resource allocation to buttress the Government’s devolution agenda, which will grow the economy in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS) and accelerate the attainment of President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, Senate President Mabel Chinomona has said. 

Speaking at the joint induction workshop for the Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing and the Thematic Committee on Culture and Heritage, the Senate President, said the proposed Act will help the country solve a number of prevalent challenges. 

“It is essential to acknowledge that there have been gaps in resource allocation. In light of this, I urge the committees to consistently engage with relevant ministries and local authorities to address these gaps. 

“If discrepancies persist, it is imperative for the committees to diligently follow up with the Ministry of Finance to expedite the establishment of a robust and transparent mechanism for resource allocation, ensuring fairness and efficiency in distribution,” she said.

“Moreover, it is critical for the committees to call for the urgent enactment of the Provincial Councils Act to operationalise devolution fully. This Act is crucial in defining provincial councils’ roles, responsibilities and powers, thereby enhancing decentralisation, promoting local governance and fostering participatory development at the grassroots level.”

Sen Chinomona said service delivery, particularly in critical sectors such as Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH), remains a significant concern, especially in certain urban areas where limited or absent services have persisted for years. 

“This lack of basic services not only undermines the quality of life for residents but also reflects broader challenges in revenue generation and public finance management within local authorities,” she said. 

“In that regard, the role of your committees become paramount in addressing this multifaceted issue. You must engage local authorities to devise innovative financing measures that reduce their dependence on the national fiscus while fostering greater accountability and transparency in revenue management,” said the Senate president. 

Turning to the housing sector, she said it was apparent that the sector faces a myriad of challenges, ranging from a backlog in housing and social amenities to obsolete and inadequate infrastructure both off-site and on-site. 

“Other pressing issues include the proliferation of informal settlements, widening disparities between rural and urban areas and the high cost of building materials and housing finance. These challenges are a poignant reminder of the urgent need to actualise the right to shelter for all Zimbabweans, particularly by constructing low-cost and affordable housing units.” 

Chairperson of the Local Government Committee, Supa Mandiwanzira, said legislators had been educated on their roles in parent ministries and how best to ensure they deliver. 

“We had presentations that were hinged on directing us as committees to be effective in our work to make sure that we are putting ministries to task on work that is not being done,” he said. 

“We are supervising the projects that are being funded from Central Government, but being overseen by these ministries and we are making sure that the services that they are supposed to deliver to the people of Zimbabwe are actually delivered. 

“I think one thing that I can say we are taking away in terms of this engagement that we have had here in Bulawayo is the fact that we have urgent work that we need to do. This urgent work relates to bringing to Parliament the Provincial Council’s Act, the Bill first and obviously the journey towards an Act, because this is what is limiting or hindering the full devolution of the services, as well as the resources of the National Government,” said Cde Mandiwanzira. 

“Additionally, in response to the urgent call for action, as highlighted by the Honourable Speaker Mudenda, we must expedite the consideration of the Provincial Councils Bill,” he added.

 

 

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