From Tawanda Mangoma in Chiredzi
Government yesterday challenged local authorities to invest their proceeds towards achieving set developmental goals, as this is the only way councils can motivate people to continue settling their rates. Speaking at the commissioning of road equipment purchased by Chiredzi Rural District Council Minister of Rural Development, Promotion and Preservation of National Culture and Heritage Cde Abenico Ncube said councils should embrace Public Private Partnerships (PPP’s).
He said embracing PPPs would go a long way in addressing pressing developmental issues.
This comes after Chiredzi Rural District Council engaged the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe (CBZ) for a loan facility of half a million dollars which the council used to purchase road maintenance equipment.
“As local authorities, let’s not just talk about 30/70 percent in our budgetary allocations,” said Minister Ncube. “Let us practically see where the 70 percent has been channelled to.
“Councils need to prove to the communities that the revenue collected is not channelled towards recurrent expenditure at the expense of the welfare of our ratepayers. I would like all our rural local authorities to turn around the tables.
“They should develop their rural areas. We want to focus on that kind of development which would make our rural areas preferred areas of settlement.”
Minister Ncube said it was important that the Chiredzi Rural District Council was benefiting from PPPs arrangements it entered on some of its projects.
He challenged local authorities to empower youths.
Speaking at the same function, Minister of State for Masvingo Provincial Affairs Cde Shuvai Mahofa said the province was pleased by the clean books of Chiredzi Rural District Council.
“I have never heard complaints from ratepayers about abuse of funds by this council,” she said. “All I can say is their work is a true reflection of their honest deeds.
Minister Mahofa said Government should avail more resources to the council since it had the capacity to repair bridges that were washed away by Cyclone Eline in 2000.
“This council is very big geographically; they have a very big revenue base,” she said. “The problem now is when they remit funds to central government, it then takes ages for it to come back for them to use it for development.
“Judging by their work, they have the capacity to help reconstruct bridges such as Chipinda and Chilonga which were swept away during Cyclone Eline.”
Chiredzi Rural District Council chief executive officer Mr Isaac Matsilele said the newly acquired road maintenance equipment included a dozer, two graders, front-end loaders, UD80 lorry, two tractors, tipper truck and three axle dumpers.
The event was also attended by Association of Rural District Councils president Dr Killer Zivhu and chief executive officers from various rural district councils.