By Byron Mutingwende and Patricia Mashiri
In order to build a positive image and attract investment, local authorities have been urged to espouse good corporate governance and accountability in their day-to-day operations.
In his remarks during the official opening of the 2017 Local Government Investment Conference (LOGIC) held at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) on Monday 7 August 2017, Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko encouraged local authorities to embrace good corporate governance and accountability
“Allow me to express my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the local government fraternity and the urban local authorities in particular for holding this unique conference, whose theme is “Local Government: Promoting Investment and Industrialisation for Socio-Economic Development.” This theme is in tandem with the current government economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET),” VP Mphoko said.
He added that the Integrated Results Based Management System (IRBM) underpinned the implementation of ZIMASSET and the ease of doing business policy frameworks adopted by government.
“These initiatives are complemented by the creation of Special Economic Zones to facilitate investments in all sectors of our country. These programmes demand governance practices and greater accountability and performance on the part of local authorities and other entities in order to reduce poverty, and create wealth among people.”
While the revenue base is dwindling, local authorities have a mandate to deliver quality services.
The Vice President also applauded the local government ministry for being steadfast in the midst of hardships and also said that the government is in full support of he initiative for it to be a success.
Patrick Chinamasa, the Minster of Finance and Economic Development conveyed his support of the initiative and pledged financial support to the ministry of local government.
“I fully support this programme and will soon hold a dialogue meeting with minister Kasukuwere to see what my ministry will do to help.
Since we are here at the investment conference, it is important to attract investment in our cities. Local authorities have problems in collecting revenue. Thus there is a need to effectively manage the finance and human resources departments,” Chinamasa said.
He bemoaned the situation whereby employment costs chew more than 70% of the budgets of most local authorities while a paltry 30% goes to service delivery. This is against the finance ministry’s recommendations, in which the opposite should apply. A number of local authorities incurred huge losses in the previous years so the adoption of good corporate governance and accountability mechanism would yield positive results.