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Poverty index to guide devolution funding.

Poverty index to guide devolution funding.

GOVERNMENT will use the poverty index to prioritise disbursement of funds to facilitate development at local level in line with the devolution drive, Finance and Economic Development Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, has said. 
Treasury set aside $310 million in the 2019 national budget to be allocated to provinces under the devolution programme. Prof Ncube said the programme was already being implemented starting with disadvantaged districts in Mashonaland provinces and would soon be moving to Matabeleland and Midlands until every district was economically stable. Speaking at a national devolution breakfast meeting hosted by the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance in Bulawayo on Wednesday, Prof Ncube said Treasury was using three key guidelines to determine resource distribution. 

 “Firstly, we have to recognise levels of poverty a society has, then we use it to allocate funds. Secondly, the quality of infrastructure and then lastly we consider the size of the population,” he explained. “We have a poverty map of Zimbabwe and we are using it as an allocative mechanism in all provinces.” Prof Ncube said 25 percent of the $310 million budgeted for devolution would be distributed in all provinces while 75 percent would be applied at district level. He urged communities in the districts to submit their projects to their local authorities so as to benefit under their own provinces. “We are trying to get to that regional level where we have spatial inclusion, where we can define each and every province of its development,” said Prof Ncube. 

 He said it was their responsibility to monitor all provinces so that funds were not wasted. “We have to know what these provinces are able to do with the funds so that we develop the country. Our job is to monitor how the communities in those districts will use the money so that resources are not wasted. For instance, some buy cars instead of focusing on projects,” said Prof Ncube. President Mnangagwa has expressed Government commitment to fulfilling the constitutional mandate on devolution and said its full implementation will ensure Zimbabweans benefit from the natural resources in their localities. Section (2) of the Constitution obliges central government to cede more powers to provincial councils for them to set local development priorities.