‘Poverty levels to determine devolution funding’

Professor Mthuli Ncube

GOVERNNENT has begun disbursing devolution funds, with Finance minister Mthuli Ncube revealing that a map showing poverty levels per district is being used to determine how much each province would get.

Ncube told delegates attending a Zimbabwe Christian Alliance (ZCA)-organised national devolution campaign breakfast meeting in Bulawayo on Wednesday that the approach of using a poverty map was meant to ensure transparency in the way national resources were being distributed and shared.

“We want to make sure that we are cognisant of poverty levels in a specific district. So we have a poverty map for Zimbabwe that we will use as an allocation mechanism to allocate resources,” Ncube said.

The Finance minister allocated US$310 million in his 2019 National Budget to facilitate the devolution of power to provincial councils.

Devolution was enacted in the 2013 Constitution following incessant complaints of marginalisation of communities in underdeveloped provinces.

“We also use it (poverty map) as a measure of the quality of infrastructure because we want to make sure that these resources at that level are used for projects that create jobs, particularly around infrastructure.

“The formula used for allocation is 25%. That percentage will go to provinces and 75% will go to districts, depending on their level of poverty (poverty map), quality of infrastructure and size of the population,” Ncube added.

The Principles of the Provincial Councils and Administration Amendment Bill, which spells out the mechanisms of decentralisation and devolution, has been approved by government.

Under the proposed devolution, Manicaland province would be the diamond beneficiation centre, Midlands would be the iron and steel value-chain beneficiation centre, Harare Metropolitan Zimbabwe’s information communication technology nerve centre, while Bulawayo Metropolitan would be the country’s industrial hub.

Ncube said Mashonaland Central was the first beneficiary of the devolution funds.

“After Mashonaland Central, Masvingo province will follow. From there, we will move on to Mashonaland East, Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North, respectively, until every province and district is covered so that government can show what it is doing in moving the country forward.” – News Day