Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Chronicle Reporter
THE public has called on the Government to set up anti-corruption courts across the country to urgently handle cases of graft.
Presenting findings from the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development consultative meetings on the 2021 Post-Budget in Parliament recently, the committee chairperson who is also Buhera Central legislator Dr Matthew Nyashanu said citizens also called for a quarterly audit of local authorities to establish how they were utilising devolution funds.
He said Zimbabweans called for strengthening of anti-corruption institutions so they could effectively deal with corruption. Dr Nyashanu said citizens also recommended that Government allows anti-corruption institutions to retain a certain percentage of funds they recover or collect and use them to fund their operations.
“The public called upon the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs to establish anti-corruption courts across the country to urgently handle all cases of corruption. Members of the public applauded the release of devolution funds aimed at improving the lives of the rural communities. It was further submitted that more funds be allocated towards devolution.
“The people recommended that devolution funds must be disbursed all at once to enable local authorities to plan and implement projects efficiently. Transparency and accountability of the funds is key. Local authorities should be assessed quarterly on their usage of devolution funds and where possible, there is need to follow up and audit on the use of the funds by local authorities. Others proposed that the sizes of districts should be taken into consideration when allocating devolution funds as some districts cover a very large space of area and population,” he said.
Dr Nyashanu said the public said devolution funds had to be realistic towards issues raised by citizens and should be allocated from the bottom-upwards. He said they also called upon the Government to put in place an Act of Parliament to support implementation of devolution funds.
Dr Nyashanu said most centres that were visited said water availability within their communities had to be addressed by the 2021 national budget. He said they pointed out the need for Government to expedite the construction of dams and boreholes in both rural and urban areas as livestock and people largely depend on them.
Dr Nyashanu said members of the public called on Government to prioritise completion of some dams already budgeted for in the 2021 national budget such as Gwayi-Shangani Dam.
“Under agriculture members of the public recommended that the Government timely provides inputs for the 2021/22 farming season.
Under energy they said a budget should be set aside funds for rural electrification, particularly targeting rural schools and clinics. It was noted that in some areas already electrified there was no electricity since Rural Electrification Agency (REA) takes too long, even more than two years to respond to a fault or for a transformer to be replaced thus reducing the efficiency of rural electrification. It was recommended that REA should improve on maintenance of electricity infrastructure,” he said.
Dr Nyashanu said Government was also urged to recruit qualified Early Child Development (ECD) teachers in rural areas.
“The public recognised the importance of the mining sector in national development and called upon the Government to support mining activities in the country, particularly, small scale and artisanal miners. They also called for the requisite regulation to be put in place so that they benefit from the mining of minerals from their area thorough corporate social responsibility,” he said.
Parliament through the Joint Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development and the Expanded Sustainable Development Goals conducted 2021 post budget feedback meetings from April 26-30 to update citizens on progress on recommendations incorporated in the 2021 national budget.
These meetings were in response to an outcry from stakeholders and members of the public that their recommendations during budget consultations are not taken on board. The concerns raised during budget consultations were in line with the principles of budget transparency, which underscores the need to have a comprehensive feedback mechanism so that citizens know how their inputs into the budget were considered.
Objectives of the consultations were to engage the citizens and update them on the outcomes of the 2021 national budget and to give an update on budget implementation. — @DubeMatutu