Devolution funds: Perfect tonic for development

The Chronicle

Midlands Bureau Chief

DEVOLUTION funds being utilised by Mberengwa Rural District Council in the Midlands province have changed the face of the district with a state-of-art clinic recently commissioned among other key projects.

Since 2019, the rural district has received more than $400 million in devolution funds from the Government. Acting chief executive officer of Mberengwa RDC, Mr Percy Mwedzi said council has built Marirazhombe Clinic in Ward 13 under Chief Chizungu.

The recently commissioned clinic, which was constructed at a total cost of $38 million, benefits 1 100 households in 22 villages including local primary and secondary schools. It comes as a relief to villagers who were forced to travel long distances to Mataga Growth Point to access health services.

“It’s a marvel when villagers appreciate what their Government is doing in terms of supporting them to realise their dreams.

With greater freedoms and flexibility using the devolution funds, council has worked more effectively in improving service delivery since 2019 when we started receiving the funds,” said Mr Mwedzi.

He said six more clinics are being constructed in the district and are at different stages of completion.

Mr Mwedzi thanked villagers who provided labour and other locally available materials for the construction of the clinics.

“We have Bayayi, Garenyama, Chebvute, Madekwana, Rengwe and Gwavamutangwi clinics which are at various stages of completion.

Who would have ever thought that we could pursue all these projects at the same time? It all has to do with devolution funds. Devolution funds have proved to be what the doctor rightly prescribed for the district as we have been able to embark on socio-economic development programmes in line with the Second Republic’s quest to attain an upper middle-income economy by 2030,” he said

Through devolution funds, Mr Mwedzi said, the local authority acquired a $52 million borehole drilling rig.
“The rig will go a long way in drilling boreholes across the district to address perennial water challenges faced by the villagers,” he said.

“We have also purchased a motorised grader, tipper truck, backhoe loader, project vehicle, a tractor and dumper trailer. We are also installing an accounting software system and an emergency solar-powered water system at Mataga Growth Point.”
Council chairperson Councillor Nyembesi Shumba said council was grateful to President Mnangagwa’s Government which availed devolution funds so that they can improve livelihoods.

Marirazhombe clinic which is located in Ward 13 under Chief Chizungu.

“Through the devolution funds, we managed to rehabilitate schools which include Makwava (Ward 27), Danamombe (Ward 31), Masora (Ward 32), Ivhukuvanhu (Ward 2), Muponga primary schools (Ward 5), Zvamagwiro Secondary School (Ward 11) and Muketi Clinic (Ward 25),” she said.

Clr Shumba said Mataga Growth Point has more than 5 000 residents in need of water and the borehole drilling rig had come in handy.

Chief Ngungumbane said he was happy to note that devolution funds in Mberengwa were being used to promote health, education, water service delivery and improve roads.

He commended the Government’s devolution agenda which he said has resulted in the construction of clinics and rehabilitation of roads and other programmes.

“Devolution funds are coming down to the people through the construction of clinics and schools. Roads are being rehabilitated, which is pro-development that is spearheaded by the Second Republic,” said Chief Ngungumbane.

The Government has already allocated $195,5 billion for devolution for next year, up from $16,7 billion this year as more funding continues to be earmarked for the Second Republic’s decentralisation agenda to empower communities and ensure equitable distribution of resources.

The money is shared among the 10 provinces based on several factors such as poverty levels in all districts, quality of infrastructure and size of the population.

Devolution is enshrined in the 2013 Constitution, but its implementation began in earnest with the coming of the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa.

The Second Republic is scaling up the devolution thrust consistently with President Mnangagwa’s mantra of leaving no one and no place behind.

The Minister of State for Midlands Provincial Affairs and Devolution Larry Mavima is on record saying Mberengwa district is endowed with vast mineral resources which should be used to complement the Government devolution agenda.

Larry Mavima

He urged the RDC to implement an effective revenue collection strategy that targets tax contributions from small-scale miners operating in the district to complement the Government’s devolution agenda.

Besides devolution funds, the Government has started a project to rehabilitate some of the roads, among them one that links Mberengwa District offices and West Nicholson in Matabeleland South province.

Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube, while delivering the 2023 National Budget, said the overpricing of goods and services impacted the devolution programme hence the need to come up with requisite policies and legal framework to curb the abuse.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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