By Daniel Chigundu
BINGA North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda has accused Finance and Economic Development Minister Patrick Chinamasa of coming to Parliament with dirty hands over his failure to allocate funds to Provincial Councils and local authorities.
According to Section 301.3 of the country’s constitution, Treasury is supposed to allocate about 5 percent of the national budget to provinces and local authorities as their share in that year.
However, Minister Chinamasa has never complied with that constitutional provision arguing that there are no guidelines on how the money will be allocated.
Speaking in the National Assembly during a debate on the proposed 2018 Finance Bill, Honourable Sibanda said it was not up to Chinamasa to decide when funds should be allocated and when they shouldn’t be.
“Honourable Speaker, I take note that in terms of the Constitution Treasury is supposed to provide resources to Provincial Councils and also local authorities. The Hon. Minister in his presentation of the 2018 budget he did not touch on those issues except to state that the Constitution has created monsters that are guzzling money from the fiscus.
“It is agreed that our Constitution has created a number of institutions that need funding. However, I believe that it is not entirely up to the Minister to decide not to allocate resources to institutions that have been created by the Constitution.
“The moment the Hon. Minister does that, he approaches Parliament with dirty hands,” he said.
Local authorities in the country are failing to provide normal service delivery owing to lack of funds as most residents are defaulting on their rates payment.
The situation was made worse in 2013 when government ordered local authorities to write-off water bills owed by residents which ran into multi-million dollars.
Honourable Sibanda said Minister Chinamasa should make financial provisions as required by the country’s laws and then bring his complain or concerns to Parliament.
“I strongly believe that the Hon. Minister is supposed to do the allocations and come to Parliament and plead with Parliament to say that those institutions maybe should not be allocated resources rather than for him to decide on his own that he is not going to allocate resources.
“I believe that this is a serious violation, which this House should not allow to sustain,” he said.