Minister for Provincial Government and Institutional Strengthening, Rollen Seleso said one of the outstanding issues facing his Ministry is the review of the 1997 Provincial Government Act.
During his speech last week he said that the current act lacks clarification of roles and responsibilities of the provincial assemblies, executives and provincial administration.
“The Act does not pave the way for provincial governments to be able to mobilize their functions and be able to generate economic activity and revenue collection mechanisms.
Though the provincial governments perceived themselves as ‘Agents’ of the national government however they were equipped with limited power and responsibility, he said.
“We would like to depart from this mentality and treat provinces as service providers, who should have functions and powers that are autonomous in a sense.
“I believe what the new revised PGA version tries to address is to bring clarity and simplicity into the functions, mandate, and capacity development mechanism of our provincial governments,” he said.
Minister Seleso said if certain responsibilities accompanied by certain governing powers are assigned to provincial governments it will be able to make decisions that truly reflect their aspirations and development needs which is exactly what the proposed federal system is trying to address.
He said what the provinces want is more resources and the ability for them to govern and to make policies and strategic decisions pertaining to their own affairs.
“Provinces and communities want greater mobility; they want to create more opportunities in terms of investment, and revenue collection.
“They want to ensure services are rendered fully for the benefit of our rural people.
“I believe the new revised Provincial Government Bill will at least shed some light on the issues facing our provinces so that they can be able to manage and assess their own administrative and socio-economic affairs,” he said.
The minister said if they are given the mandate, resources, capacity, and responsibility to look after their own affairs the provincial government can still deliver what is expected in terms of economic development and improved livelihood for the people.
By FOLLET JOHN