By Kudakwashe Vhenge
Chitungwiza residents have urged government to speed up the implementation of devolution and decentralization in order to strengthen transparency, accountability and development of the town and the country.
This was revealed yesterday (Thursday) during the National Development Strategy Consultative Meeting which was held at Key College, Unit K in Seke.
The meeting which was facilitated by Chitungwiza Residents Trust (CHITREST) and National Association of Non-Government Organization (NANGO) had the main thrust of engaging residents, community leaders and duty bearers on the formulation of a new National Developmental Strategy.
Submissions made by residents reflected a dire need for the decentralization of revenue collection and use by policy as provided for under Chapter 14 of the 2013 constitution.
Speaking during the meeting, Councilor for ward 6, Tonderai Chiwanza emphasized the need to have money collected for road infrastructure by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (ZINARA) to be localized.
He added that the local authority is not getting enough money from the body to refurbish local roads.
“The overall amount of money that we are allocated per year under devolution is equivalent to the money that we can collect on vehicle licenses per month in Chitungwiza alone. Almost one third of cars that you see in Harare Central Business District come from Chitungwiza. The money that we are allocated per year under devolution is not enough to maintain one major road in Chitungwiza,” said Chiwanza.
Chitungwiza Mayor Councilor, Lovemore Maiko also weighed in citing that the impediments being put in place by the Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) do not allow local authorities to make purchases of at least ZLW$10 000 without its authorization.
This has brought delays in the timeous purchasing of crucial equipment at the approval of council and delays in the agreement and processing of payments in the hyperinflationary country always had a negative bearing on Chitungwiza Municipality.
Other submissions that were brought in by residents included the need to build tertiary institutions and vocational training centres for nearly 300 000 youths in Chitungwiza so as to deal with the propriety on human and capital development.
Chitungwiza only has Seke teachers’ college for the training of primary school teachers. The institutional is marred by reports of prioritizing students applying from outside Chitungwiza.
On food security and nutrition, residents noted that there is need for guarantees from surrounding farms and local Grain Marketing Body (GMB) depot that they provide grain for Chitungwiza residents before truckloads full of grain are seen carrying the much needed produce leaving locals in short supply.
Government through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development is working on a five year National Development Strategy to bolster the country’s economic stability with 14 priorities that includes economic growth and stability, food security and nutrition, transport infrastructure and utilities, human capital development, risk prevention and disaster management among others.
This comes after the two year Transitional Stabilization Program (TSP) that started in 2018 and ending in December this year.
Nationwide consultations through various organizations including NANGO are currently underway with submissions ending next month expected to shape the country’s next economic blueprint.