Govt launches devolution manual From left, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Martin Rushwaya (left), Local Government and Public Works Minister Daniel Garwe, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs in the President and Cabinet, Lovemore Matuke, Deputy Minister of Finance Kudakwashe David Mnangagwa and permanent secretary for Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion George Guvamatanga follow proceedings at the Zimbabwe Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfer System Administrative Manual launch in Harare yesterday. – Picture: Joseph Manditswara

Oliver Kazunga

Senior Business Reporter

THE Government yesterday launched the Zimbabwe Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfers System Administrative Manual, which seeks to guide local authorities to manage and process devolution funds in a transparent and accountable manner.

Under President Mnangagwa, the Second Republic that came into being in November 2017, operationalised the constitutional provision that stipulates that at least 5 percent of the national revenues raised in any financial year, should be allocated to provinces and local authorities as their share to foster developmental programmes and projects.

Officially launching the Zimbabwe Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfers System Administrative Manual in Harare, Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion Minister, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said the devolution and decentralisation agenda is one of the thematic areas of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1).

“Government is, therefore, implementing the devolution agenda with the main objective to achieve economic growth and development through a system which is community-based and people-centred, that ensures equitable, sustainable and shared responsibilities to benefit the citizens nationwide.

“The stance resonates well with our national vision of an ‘empowered and prosperous upper-middle income society by 2030,’ by providing support towards implementation of high impact community development projects and programmes using the existing structures in our country,” he said.

Prof Ncube said the path, which Government is taking of devolving powers and resources from the central authority to lower tiers, offers space for communities to actively contribute and dissect towards issues directly affecting their livelihoods ranging from provision of educational services, health care, water and sanitation, roads and other social amenities, among others.

He said the Inter-Governmental Fiscal Transfers System (IGFTs) Administrative Manual was being launched to provide technical guidance to lower tiers of the Government to effectively and efficiently manage fiscal grants as well as guide central Government entities responsible for administering the same.

“This initiative will further ensure accountability and transparency in the utilisation of the fiscal grants and will further capacitate the Government to disburse resources timeously at the same time in the right proportion, in order to make a meaningful impact towards infrastructure and service delivery.

“Major areas that are covered by this manual, among others include the following: tiers of Government; grants allocation criteria; eligible expenditures; institutional framework for managing Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfers; financial management framework; and monitoring and evaluation.”

Prof Ncube said the Government is fully aware of the current regional/provincial developmental disparities among some jurisdictions, which was considered during formulation of the manual, hence the adoption of an appropriate allocative formula.

The formula, he said, will be reviewed every five years or when necessary to align with emerging contextual changes.

“The thrust by Government is to ensure the use of IGFTs allocative formula that brings fairness in terms of resource allocation and utilisation within the lower tiers of Government.

“As we walk the journey towards Vision 2030, the Government will endeavour to fulfil Section 301 (3) of the Constitution, which stipulates that not less than five percent of the national revenues raised in any financial year must be allocated to the provinces and local authorities.

“The manual also emphasises the need for a proper monitoring and evaluation system that will ensure that resources are utilised for the intended purpose and in line with community development aspirations and priorities.

“This demonstrates the commitment by the Second Republic that devolution is a fundamental cornerstone for unbiased and just governance, which is all inclusive towards social economic development,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Martin Rushwaya, said the Constitution not only entrenches the principles of devolution, but also sets the parameters of the model of the devolution that the Government was pursuing under NDS1 and any other future developmental frameworks.

“In this regard, Chapter 14 of our Constitution lays out the foundation for a unitary, but centralised system of intergovernmental relationship for providing support towards high impact development projects and programmes across all our communities.

“Pursuant to this, the Zimbabwe Constitution provides the framework for devolution of governmental powers and responsibilities . . . Section 301 sub-section 3, it further provides that a budget (fiscal policy) of at least 5 percent of the national revenues raised in any financial year, should be allocated to provinces and local authorities as their share in that fiscal year.

“These funds are to be used for the development of provinces so that no region is left behind.

“The formulation of Zimbabwe’s devolution and decentralisation agenda only began to take shape and gain traction from the onset of the Second Republic after November 2017.

“Its implementation draws from our national vision 2030 towards the realisation of the aspirations of a prosperous and upper middle income society as espoused by the President,” he said.

Earlier in his remarks, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Development and Investment Promotion, Mr George Guvamatanga, said since the inception of devolution budgetary allocations, a number of infrastructure projects have been implemented at lower tiers of Government, with significant impact being recorded on the lives of the majority.

“Despite making annual devolution budgetary allocations, undeniably, in the absence of a clear IGFTs manual, a number of challenges were encountered, ranging from project conceptualisation, appraisal, implementation, contract management, monitoring and evaluation as well as accounting and reporting, among other aspects of the project cycle.

“To kick-start the formulation of the IGFTs Administrative Manual, Government worked with all the relevant stakeholders to establish an inter-ministerial taskforce led by Treasury and the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, to provide initial proposals for the Intergovernmental Fiscal Transfer System,” he said.

Mr Guvamatanga said to extensively input into the manual before its formal adoption, the Government undertook benchmarking study tours to Zambia, Kenya and Cambodia, who have successfully implemented IGFT Administrative systems.

“I recognise with much appreciation, the unwavering support we are receiving from our cooperating partners, the likes of UNICEF, the World Bank, UNDP, among others, in availing experts and funding the development of this IGFTs Administrative Manual we are launching today,” he said.

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