Provincial govts hailed ‘unsung heroes’

National, Normal

The National, Friday 7th June 2013

 CHIEF Secretary Manasupe Zurenuoc has hailed provincial governments as “unsung heroes” of government service delivery, who until 2009 have been suffering from unfair National Government development grant funding.

Zurenuoc said in the past five years funding to provincial government for recurrent goods and services had more than doubled and they got more than K1.4 billion in development grants.

He told the  this on Wednesday at the opening of the National Fiscal and Economic Commission regional workshop for Mamose region reviewing how funds were spent on the Government’s 11 minimum priority areas.

“Provincial governments are the unsung heroes of service delivery, they shoulder the lion’s share of responsibilities yet over time they had been slowly starved of funding,” Zurenuoc, also Finance Department acting secretary, said.

He said in the past decade there were massive differences between the financial capabilities of provincial governments which were unfair as they were given the same funding from the government.

Zurenuoc said by 2005 the inter-governmental finance system was well and truly broken down however the National Fiscal and Economic Commission intervened and in 2009 a new system was brokered between governors and the National Government which saw grants calculated on the basis of need.

“The more people in the province the more money you got, some provinces have poor or no road network or rely heavily on boat travel, this meant the delivery of basic services cost far more in those provinces,” he said.

Since then he said provincial governments, from current projections, each provincial government would have had at least ninety percent of funding they need.

Another positive development, he said, was the introduction of the minimum priority areas which benefitted from conditional service delivery grants which were monitored by NEFC.   

“So provincial governments the ball now is in your court, the pressure is on to bring about real improvements in the districts,” Zurenuoc said.