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Councils redirect devolution funds intended for development projects to pay for salaries

Commercial Sector Employees Set For Wage Hike

Councils redirect devolution funds intended for development projects to pay for salaries

Harare | According to the Auditor-General’s report on local governments for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2022, some local councils are diverting devolution monies intended for development projects to pay wages.

Mrs. Rhea Kujinga, Acting Auditor-General, published her report in June 2023. Kujinga stated,

Central government disbursed devolution funds to Local Authorities. However, I noted that some Councils did not use the money as intended. For instance, Bindura Municipality received devolution funds amounting to ZWL34,2 million, however, ZWL7.7 million was used for salaries and ZWL19.2million was invested at the expense of undertaking development projects.

Gokwe Town Council received ZWL7.3 million in 2020, but could not provide approved plans of projects, internal audit report on acquittals, minutes of meetings of project consultations, documentary evidence of implementation of the projects.

Kadoma City Council utilized ZWL3.6 million from devolution funds which was 80% of the contract price for installation of eight (8) power correction units in 2020, however, only one unit was partly installed.

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Governance issues were a significant concern, with audit findings revealing an increase in revenue collection and debt recovery issues, indicating weak internal controls.

Procurement issues and mismanagement of assets were also reported, pointing to weakening procurement management systems and non-compliance with regulations.

Local government authorities are facing various challenges, including the inability to provide clean drinking water, collect garbage, maintain sewer systems, provide street lighting, and upkeep roads.

Reports have emerged suggesting that these authorities are misusing funds, which ultimately burdens the ratepayers who rely on their services.

Some local authorities believe that their failure to deliver public goods and services is due to two main reasons: non-payment of rates and interference by the central government.

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