HARARE-President Emmerson has described local authorities as key engines that drive the sub-national and national developmental agenda of the country.
The President said these remarks during the central Government and the local authorities indaba which was held in Harare on 2 November 2023.
Mnangagwa added that the developmental role of councils was reflected in the broad range of mandates bestowed upon them by the Constitution and other enabling Acts.
“May I congratulate those local authorities that have demonstrated unity of purpose and focus that has resulted in the unprecedented development successes in some parts of the country. Under my government’s renewed mandate and in the context of the Second Republic’s impetus for results, every local authority should speedily develop a road-map towards a Vision 2030 status.
“The various presentations and views shared at this forum should broaden perspectives and make the expectations we have of local authorities and the local government sector clearer. The next five years should also see fundamental changes in the manner in which all councils are administered.
“Areas for special attention include, revenue collection and distribution, compliance with applicable laws, leasing and selling of land by local authorities in servitudes, leasing and selling of communal and agricultural land by local authorities, and valuation of properties for rating purposes.
President Mnangagwa also spoke about the Second Republic’s decision to avail devolution funds to all local, authorities.
“Through Section 301 of the National Constitution, the Second Republic has ensured that local authorities receive Devolution Funds, to embark on transformative Capital Development Projects. The impact of this initiative is evident in the increased number of new classroom blocks and clinics as well as the procurement of service delivery equipment for many local authorities.” he added.
He added that Government was going to increase resources to address the financing gaps.
“However, I am aware of the concerns and need to increase actual disbursement of allocated funds. My Administration is committed to scale up measures for the recapitalisation of local authorities. Infrastructure development, including the ongoing Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme, will continue to be supported.
“In keeping with best practices in the use of public finances, local authorities should improve their collection of rates. The syndrome to wait for Central Government to provide resources and hide behind delays in release of Devolution Funds, is unacceptable and will only slow down the speed at which we must achieve a higher quality of life for our people.
“As we prepare for the 2024 Financial, Income and Expenditure Estimates, and in line with our legal frameworks, councils must undergo broad consultations processes, towards people centred policies, programmes and projects.
“Furthermore, local authorities are encouraged to speed up the rate of adopting technologies for resource planning, procurement, project management, risk management, compliance and expenditure control as well budgeting and financial reporting, to improve efficiencies. In this regard, the solutions products and services coming out of our innovation hubs should be considered as first options.” he said.