Mat North residents call on Treasury to release funds
PEOPLE from Matabeleland North have alleged a deliberate neglect of capital projects in the province by Treasury in the national budget, a situation they said marginalises the province.
Contributing at the 2017 National Budget consultation meetings in Lupane last Thursday and Victoria Falls yesterday, participants said Treasury has in the past announced meagre allocations for capital projects, which were not disbursed.
In Victoria Falls, residents said they were tired of contributing at consultation meetings but without any results in terms of allocation.
Participants, drawn from councillors, residents, business representatives and educators, said “all” capital projects, ranging from educational, health and roads in the province were at a standstill because of lack of funding which should come from Treasury.
They concurred on the need for a livestock restocking fund, rehabilitation of BulawayoVictoria Falls Road, upgrading of clinics and setting up of mobile health centres, setting up irrigation schemes and retention of part of revenue from natural resources such as the Rainforest and game parks among others.
“The budget should look at infrastructure that can make Lupane a town. The Government Complex, Provincial Registry office and provincial hospital are now white elephants because they are not being funded. The town has never been allocated funds ever since it came into existence and we want money for these projects in the same manner other provinces benefit,” said Lupane Local Board chairperson Mrs Monica Ngwenya.
She called for funding of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and Binga Border Post.
There were shocking allegations that Fighting Road, which connects Lupane to Kwekwe in Midlands and reduces the distance between Harare and Lupane by 200km, is treated as a tarred road by Central Government when the road is not manoeuvrable.
Lupane District Administrator Zachariah Jusa implored Government to revise some of its bureaucratic policies that he said marginalise the province. “We are concerned about some Government policies and we also want special grants given to underperforming prospective investors reduced. We want an equitable distribution of resources because people are not benefiting from natural resources in the province.
“Dongamuzi Clinic was allocated $230 000 three years ago but the money hasn’t come because of bureaucracy and centralisation. I was shocked to learn that Fighting Road is listed as a tarred road when a 4x4 vehicle can’t even use the road. Government should audit all these projects before allocations are made,” said the DA.
Participants also implored Treasury to allocate funds for the completion of Lupane State University which they said is long overdue.
Rural roads as well as the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls Road are in a sorry state and a death trap as they are potholed and too narrow thereby causing numerous accidents and there is a need for special funds for that, participants said.
“The Rainforest is a cash cow for tourism but we don’t benefit from it. We need 30 percent channelled back to Victoria Falls for developmental projects and Treasury to set aside a fund to construct a passport office here in Victoria Falls because we are a border town yet we can’t process travel documents especially for tourists who lose documents or want to extend their stay. They have to go to Harare,” said Victoria Falls Ward 9 Councillor Somvelo Dlamini.
Beauty Moyo from Kachechete Ward outside Victoria Falls called for a fund to compensate those who lose crops to wild animals which they don’t benefit from.
Chamabondo Primary School headmaster Mr Phathugwalo Masuku said a bigger chunk of the budget should be allocated to education.
Mr Trymore Ndolo called for funds for construction of a polytechnic and vocational training centre, which are not there in the province.
Participants called for the establishment of irrigation schemes to tap water from the Zambezi River. They said instead of funding parastatals, Government should capacitate health facilities and schools.
Chairman of the committee Cde David Chapfika said they noted several pertinent issues raised like the state of roads, wild animals, lack of learning facilities and water infrastructure for irrigation among others. — @ncubeleon