Local authorities urged to utilise devolution funds

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter
LOCAL authorities in Matabeleland North have been challenged to speedily implement projects funded through devolution funds and other Government programmes to fulfil the aspirations of the Second Republic.

Matabeleland North Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Richard Moyo said it was disheartening that in the province, only Hwange Local Board and Bubi Rural District Council (RDC) have commissioned some projects while other local authorities are yet to complete projects.

There are nine local authorities in Matabeleland North’s seven districts and these are Hwange Local Board, Hwange RDC, Binga RDC, Bubi RDC, Kusile RDC, Lupane Local Board, Tsholotsho RDC, Umguza RDC and Victoria Falls City Council.

Government allocated devolution funds to all local authorities to fund development projects to improve the people’s lives.

Some funds are being channelled through the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme 2 (ERRP) and these are meant to fund rehabilitation of roads.

Speaking after commissioning a recently tarred road and presiding over a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a market for small and medium enterprises in Hwange town, Minister Moyo expressed concern over delays by local authorities to implement projects despite receiving funding from Government.

The 400-metre road stretch in Baobab was constructed using ERRP funds while devolution funds have been channelled towards construction of vending stalls for 150 beneficiaries.

“We want to thank President Mnangagwa for availing ERRP funds which is the reason we are commissioning this road today. Many projects are happening across the country and local authorities are commissioning projects done through devolution and ERRP funds, but here in Matabeleland North, it is the Hwange Local Board and Bubi which have commissioned completed projects so far,” said Minister Moyo.

He said other local authorities are yet to complete projects despite receiving funding a long time ago. “I want to urge the local authorities to speed up the implementation of the identified projects so that people start benefiting from the devolution funds,” said Minister Moyo.

A clinic constructed using devolution funds was commissioned in Bubi district last year. HLB recently commissioned an Early Childhood Development Block funded through devolution funds.

Minister Moyo said he was happy that residents of Hwange were already enjoying the fruits of Devolution funds and said this should be the same case in all areas in the province.

HLB set aside $12 million for the Baobab road rehabilitation programme. Local Board chairperson Councillor Nqobile Ocean Mabhena said the rehabilitated 400-metre road stretch is part of a road network targeted for reconstruction under the ERRP I.

The road had become a hazard due to numerous potholes and motorists were now avoiding driving to Baobab Shopping Centre because of the bad state of the road.

“This was adversely affecting businesses operating at the business centre. The rehabilitation of the road we are commissioning today is going to bring business back to the centre,” said Clr Mabhena.

The local authority also cleared and resuscitated storm water drains, roadside vegetation and patched potholes under ERRP 2.

“You might be aware that parts of our residential areas were over the years being affected by flooding and this has since been addressed,” Clr Mabhena.

He said the ERRP 2 and devolution projects also created jobs for the youths. — @ncubeleon

Article Source: The Chronicle

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