Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Manicaland Bureau
Local Authorities have called on Government to accelerate the devolution process to reduce the gaps, which are preventing them from fully engaging potential investors to improve service delivery.
Speaking at a Public Finance Management Systems reforms indaba held in Mutare yesterday, Mutare City Council Mayor Blessing Thandi said the Joint Venture and Procurement Acts were not in sync with Government’s vision 2030, which seeks to give local authorities autonomy over their revenue generation endeavors.
“As local authorities, we are facing limitations in terms of how we can play our part in the devolution matrix. The Joint Venture Act does not speak to the Zimbabwe is Open for business mantra. The inconsistent policies are not doing us any favours when it comes to embarking on Public Private Partnerships with potential investors,” he said.
“Whenever we get partners, we need to go through the Ministry of Local Government, which then has to go to the Ministry of Finance for the financial aspects to be considered. No investor can spend two or three months holding on to their money waiting for decisions to be made.”
He said devolution would reduce the amount of red tape involved in the implementation of PPPs hence encourage more investors to partner council for improved service delivery.
The Mutare city council however came under attack from citizens who said the authority was not ready for joint ventures as they are yet to update their financial accounts. They claimed council could not engage meaningful investors as long as their audits remained outstanding.
Cllr Thandi said the local authority was working on its financials which he said would be updated by the end of the year.
“As a city, we have written a roadmap that we are sticking to. By December 31, 2019, the local authority should be up to date in terms of its accounts,” he said.