BY GARY HATIGEVA
PERMANENT Secretary in the Ministry of Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening (MPGIS), Stanley Pirione said a Commission will look after the functions of the revenue sharing scheme between the National Government and Provincial Government.
Before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) yesterday, PS Pirione said the Commission will look after the functions of the scheme.
He said under the Commission, there will be Committees set up to carry out the important programs to determine and understand the criteria, which will then be used to pay out grants.
Pirione said the said approach will not change the current structure to look after packages of those working in essential government service delivery program. Those working in the essential service includes nurses, teachers and doctors.
He said their welfare and packages will remain under the Central Government and added that the approach will not take away funds from any other parts of the budget, but just a matter of rearranging, so more focus goes down to the provinces.
He also pointed out that there is an advantage to introduce the legal framework of the sharing scheme arrangement. He said findings have shown that they will not need to go through an overhaul on any shadow legislations. He said this is because provisions are already catered for under the Public Financial Management Act, especially on the establishment of special funds.
“All that would have to be done is to put in a small bill, which is expected to give mandate to the commission and with the taskforce to do changes, depending on studies that they will be carried out.
“Sometimes we might disagree with some of the criteria due to performances or populations, or even the percentages that are pinned to them, they are subjected to change, and coming back to the steps in which the Ministry is taking now, we will always go back and carry out consultations.
“In fact, this one is a dream of all the provinces, which they have already endorsed, and the cabinet has also endorsed it, but nothing stops us from going back to hold wider consultations, the PS added.
He further added that Provinces that have small revenues will not be affected as it is something that is taken from the government consolidated funds to be shared amongst them.
He said therefore some of the provinces, which might not have resources to put on board, can still have shares in this revenue arrangement.
“We thought it will address all the issues that the draft federal constitution is trying to address, with issues in terms of capacity, level of governance, how resources can be shared, and how we can decentralise some of the functions, channelling them right down to the provinces.
This approach is highly welcomed by Members of the Committee. They say this is an important initiative. They have also agreed that it is an answer to the ever growing pressure on the sharing of resources to the provinces.