Decentralised system still needs nurturing: Uutoni

Minister of Urban and Rural Development Erastus Uutoni has reaffirmed Government’s commitment towards supporting developmental initiatives through regional and local authority councils.

Uutoni said this during the commemoration of the Africa Day of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development at Okahao in the Omusati Region on Thursday.

This year’s day is commemorated under the theme ‘The contribution of African Subnational and Local Governments in the Making of the African Continental Free Trade Area’.

Uutoni stated that one of the instruments they are using to harness the economic potential of regions and local authorities is their Regional and Local Economic Development (LED) White Paper of 2011, which they are reviewing in order to ensure its continued relevance.

“Through our LED programme, we will continue to support and build the capacity of our regional and local governments to develop and implement effective regional and local economic development strategies and initiatives with a view to attract and retain investment and business, which are important sources and catalysts for employment and wealth creation as well as economic growth and development,” he said.

Uutoni said they need to be mindful that their decentralised system still needs nurturing and perfection before they can experience the full benefits thereof.

He said this more than ever calls for enhanced cooperation and unwavering commitment from all stakeholders, especially line ministries who have to decentralise functions and corresponding resources as well as regional and local authority councils as the recipients, to re-commit and do everything in their power to accelerate the pace of decentralisation.

The minister indicated that with other government ministries and agencies such as the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, they will also continue to assist local governments to build business sites and premises, as well as to access production equipment that offer conducive spaces for trading and boost the productive capacity of their micro, small and medium enterprises.

Uutoni stressed that decentralisation has the potential to unleash development potential at regional and local levels, which in turn translates into benefits at both local and national levels.

The commemoration was attended by all 14 regional governors.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency