Devolution to focus on economic aspects: Minister

July Moyo

Cde July Moyo

Robin Muchetu, Sunday News
THE Government is working on an enabling act that will operationalise provincial councils to pave way for the commencement of the much awaited devolution of power, a Cabinet Minister has said.

In an interview last week, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Cde July Moyo said the Act will operationalise the provincial councils that are key in the implementation of devolution.

“We are working to make sure that there is an enabling act that will bring about the provincial councils in place. The provincial councils are the ones that are going to be in charge at provincial level, that’s the first line we are going to devolve things,” said Cde Moyo.

Cde Moyo said President Mnangagwa wanted to see the country implementing the issue of devolution as stated in the country’s constitution.

“Devolution is in parts the first part being the political structures and those are captured in Chapter 14 on the Constitution where we have to set up the council. On the membership of the council, we still have some problems and we are consulting how we can make it work better,” he said.

The second aspect of devolution, he said, will focus on the economic and financial aspect.

“These issues are captured in Chapter 17 which says Government must assist local authorities and provincial councils like giving them capital and that money is what they will use to construct roads, sewerage and to build up all infrastructure that has been lacking in the country,” said Cde Moyo.

He said another area of concern in the implementation of devolution of power was the issue of marginalised areas in the various provinces.

“The other aspect is that let’s look at areas that are marginalised and lift them and these are marginalised either sectorally or in service delivery systems like schools and health institutions. Schools in Plumtree may be less than schools in Mutare. We will look at the national average of the ratio of schools to pupils and if Plumtree is lagging behind, we will then give them some money to lift the status of schools in that by putting more infrastructure, electricity and water to name a few,” he said.

Cde Moyo said devolution was about lifting the standards of living of all the communities by assessing those who are remaining behind by making sure that they are at the same levels.

“The President said each province, each local authority must come up with gross domestic product figures, so we know what is the worthiness of Bulawayo compared to the worthiness of Gweru, we can reduce it to per capita so that we know what is the worthiness per capita of Bulawayo as compared to Harare,” he added.

“So that is the concept of devolution, there is economic devolution, political devolution but at the end of the day devolution is supposed to lift the standards of living of the people, the community by using resources in those areas.”