Sunday Mail Reporter
The GOVERNMENT expects to allocate over $26 billion to local authorities under the devolution programme in 2022, as authorities continue to enhance initiatives that promote inclusive development countrywide.
A number of measures will be put in place to enhance transparency and accountability in the use of funds and implementation of projects.
According to the 2022 budget strategy paper, which was recently unveiled by Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, devolution is positively impacting service delivery in local authorities.
“Devolution is expected to play an important role in driving inclusive growth and structural transformation of the economy by empowering local communities to make decisions regarding development of their areas, in order to grow provincial GDP,” he said.
“Guided by the Constitution and Devolution and Decentralisation Policy that was approved in 2020, the Government will, in 2022, avail not less than 5 percent of projected revenues to provincial/metropolitan councils and local authorities in support of local community empowerment programmes. From the macro-economic fiscal framework, the devolution resource envelope is estimated at $26,7 billion in 2022.”
In 2019, the Government allocated $310 million to devolution, with $2,9 billion and $19,5 billion allocated in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The Government is prioritising investments in health, transport, water and sanitation, public amenities, education and electricity to underpin devolution over the next five years.
Prof Ncube said funds have been distributed for devolution in the past three years have led to extensive infrastructure development in all parts of the country.
“Resources disbursed through the Inter-Government Fiscal Transfers allocation have impacted positively on service delivery, with local infrastructure being developed in areas such as health, education, water and sanitation.”
The National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), the Government’s economic blueprint which runs from 2021 to 2025, will be anchored on devolution and decentralisation, as well as prudent use of public resources. NDS1 makes it clear that devolution engenders a new way of governance in the Second Republic, where decentralisation is a key feature.