Most councils survive on decentralization funds as revenue collection declines

By Mashoanaland East Correspondent

At least 90% of rural and urban councils are now surviving on decentralization funds provided annually by the government, as taxpayers’ incomes continue to decline for various reasons.

This was confirmed by Gilbert Dzvuke, Provincial Director of Economic Development for Mashonaland East, during a recent plenary meeting of Marondera City Council.

He said the situation where local authorities were mainly dependent on government funding was untenable, before urging local authorities to innovate and generate more revenue.

“It has been noted that 90% of local councils are now mainly dependent on decentralization funds, but I would like to reiterate the need for you to be innovative and generate more revenue to complement government efforts,” Dzvuke told councilors .

“The government wants to see the decentralization program succeed and as local authorities you have a big role to play. The decentralization funds you receive from the treasury should be channeled into flagship programs that help improve service delivery and people’s lives. »

Falling incomes in the town of Marondera have led residents to go months without a water supply, while burst sewer pipes go days without being repaired. Uncollected waste also poses a health hazard to the local community.

Addressing the same meeting, Marondera District Development Coordinator Clemence Masawi said councilors should be familiar with the Town Councils Act to avoid unnecessarily blaming the Ministry of Local Government for its incompetence.

The line ministry, headed by July Moyo, is responsible for disbursing decentralization funds.

Masawi’s rebuke came after one of Size Vilela’s (Ward 10) advisers from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) accused the government of politicizing the disbursement of decentralization funds.

“Deconcentration funds should not be politicized. Why do we receive funds almost similar to those given to councils in rural areas when we are the provincial capital? »

However, in response to Vilela’s sentiments, Masawi said councilors should stick to their mandate of improving service delivery and refrain from playing politics all the time.

“There is a criterion that has been agreed to be used in the allocation of funds and if you don’t understand it correctly you end up
pointlessly blaming the wrong people.

This year, local authorities in Mashonaland East province received $6.4 billion in local currency, with Marondera allocating the largest share of $328 million. The province has 10 local authorities.

Sallie R. Loera