Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Government has commended the District Development Fund (DDF) for uplifting the livelihoods of rural communities despite financial constraints.
DDF projects are in all parts of the country including areas hit by Cyclone Idai.
The projects have brought relief to people facing water shortages, whose irrigation schemes were no longer functional and those who were facing challenges in accessing services due to the absence of roads.
The fund has also assisted farmers during the 2019/20 summer cropping season with free tillage.
Officiating at the DDF strategic planning workshop for 2020, at the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration in Zvimba, Deputy Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Martin Rushwaya said, DDF’s assignments will be executed using Treasury and Zinara budget provisions of $386 million as allocated to the various organisation’s internal operational departments.
“It is pleasing that this time around, the DDF employment cost budget has been pegged at around 13 percent of the total budget, leaving 87 percent of the budget allocation going towards the actual works of rural development.
“Due to competing demands facing Government in an ever increasingly harsh economic climate, the level of funding for appropriate and adequate machinery for the DDF services has not matched the rural development demands placed upon the Fund.
“It is against this background that the 2020 Budget has a recapitalisation bid attachment to remind the honourable captains of political debate in Parliament to take note,” he said.
He expressed concern that DDF was experiencing challenges of inadequate and obsolete equipment.
“It is pleasing to note that it has infrastructure that can be used to generate additional resources provided for in this budget to the tune of $6 million to supplement budgetary inadequacies under the recurrent budget,” he said.
DDF also has a fleet of three Cessna 406 caravans which are on charter service to Government ministries and the private sector, drilling rigs that can be hired out to various clients and some assets that can be sold to raise further funds.
DDF secretary in the Office of the President, Mr James Jonga said the organisation was thriving to give quality service despite financial constraints.
He said DDF had been allocated limited funds during the 2020 national Budget, but the organisation was working on how best it could offer quality services.
“The understanding being that with whatever little we have got, we have to be visible in addressing the wishes of the masses. DDF is the most active and reliable errand boy of Central Government.
“We strive to ensure that we access rural community through our feeder roads. Post independence Africa, we are the best country that can access its rural people through our feeder roads,” he said.