Devolution: Govt to prioritise underdeveloped provinces

Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube says the government will allocate more resources under the devolution programme to underdeveloped provinces such as Matabeleland and Midlands.

Speaking at a breakfast meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance in Bulawayo, Wednesday, Minister Ncube said these provinces were lagging behind in terms of infrastructure such as roads and schools.

“The way the criteria works, we will allocate resources to provinces such as Matabeleland because of the quality of infrastructures such as schools and roads. However, we will try to balance the resources to all provinces,” said Ncube.

“The formula used for allocation is 25% will go to provinces and 75% will go to districts, which will be districts depending on their level of poverty, quality of infrastructure and size of the population.”

Minister Ncube was responding to concerns from the delegates who implored him to allocate more resources to these provinces as they have a history of underdevelopment.

“The Matabeleland and Midlands regions are generally accepted to be underprivileged,” said Reverend Useni Sibanda of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance.

“There is a need for affirmative action to give more resources to provinces that were disadvantaged after independence.”

Minister Ncube said devolution will help in speeding up development in some of the provinces in the country.

“I would like to see a day where we will say this is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Lupane, Muzarabani or Matopo. We want to get at that level where the regional economy is understood.

“Devolution will be a way whereby there will be participation in all districts and we are able to see development as a bottom-up rather than top to down process,” said Ncube.

The Minister pointed out that some provinces have already been given devolution funds.

“I have started the process already where all the projects that the government is funding, district by district, starting with Mashonaland Central, after which we will go to Masvingo then Mashonaland East then Matabeleland South and Matabeleland North.

“We will do the rounds until all provinces and districts are covered.”

The government in the 2018 budget availed $310 million for the implementation of devolution.

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