By Correspondent

Government has added more pressure on the opposition controlled urban local authorities after it alleged that it has been funding them to enable them to provide services to residents.

Speaking in Parliament the Deputy Minister of Local Government Marian Chombo said there were various enterprises open to Councils to provide services.

“The Ministry has a facility to make sure that all the local authorities are capacitated.

“We have the devolution funds and they are meant to address those. If you know, the devolution funds address five items and that is clinics, education, power, water and sewer.

“Even Makokoba which you have mentioned, we have put in a lot of resources to capacitate the local authorities,” she said.

Chombo’s added that they also encouraged Councils to borrow.

“What we mostly encourage is, if the local authority is financially sound, we approve borrowing powers for them to be able to access resources to make sure that they bring their sewer and water reticulation up to speed”.

Chombo’s sentiments will likely aggrieve the mainly Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) councilors in various Councils who have been complaining about financial challenges.

They allege that devolutions funds are not disbursed timely or even adequate.

Furthermore, Local Government Minister July Moyo has been accused of disbursing the funds unilaterally in the absence of an enabling Parliamentary Act.

The said Bill for the Act is alleged to be at the Attorney General’s office after which it will come to Parliament.

Norton MP Temba Mliswa recently warned that Chombo and Moyo would likely face criminal abuse of office charges in the future for their conduct in disbursing Devolution funds.

CCC legislator Tendai Biti also echoed the same sentiments adding that the Ministry’s conduct paves way for corruption.

“The fundamental issue is that there is no devolution law authorizing the disbursement of those funds.

“So you now have the Minister, Minister July Moyo on his own – willy-nilly now distributing these funds at his own discretion, thereby opening up for corruption and abuse,” he said.

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