OSHAKATI - In its quest to bring development closer to the people and to enhance participatory democracy, the Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Lucia Witbooi yesterday handed over decentralised functions to 14 regions.
The hand-over ceremony took place in Oshakati.
The functions of the ministry which will be delegated to the regional council include gender equality and mainstreaming, income generating activities, integrated early childhood development and child welfare services.
The gender ministry is the fifth ministry to have decentralised its services.
Other decentralised ministries are the Ministry of Land Reform, Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Works and Transport and the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology.
Witbooi said the handover of functions to the regional council will accelerate service delivery at grass root level.
She said it will also further ensure socio-economic and cultural development, as it will provide people at the grass root level an opportunity to take part in own decision making and thus extend democracy.
Also speaking at the same event, Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen said the decentralisation demonstrated the government’s desire to bring services closer to the people.
Klazen said the success and benefits of decentralisation will be measured on the tangible benefits that have resulted from decentralisation and not the number of functions that have been decentralised.
“In particular, decentralisation must manifest itself in the empowerment of people at the local level; improved administrative efficiency, effectiveness inclusivity, responsiveness and high quality services,” Klazen remarked.
The deputy minister said the government will continue to oversee the regional leadership to ensure that the functions that have been transferred are indeed making a difference in the lives of the community.
He said government will have a close eye on the regional leadership to ensure that there are periodic reviews of the impact as well as full accountability of the utilisation of the human capital and financial resources that are part of the decentralisation process.
Klazen assured that the decentralisation of the rural water supply and sanitation as well as primary health care is at an advance stage.
He was responding to the call of the Governor of Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa who pleaded for the two sectors to be decentralised.
Kashuupulwa applauded the two ministries involved, the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development as well as the Gender Ministry for decentralising these services.
The governor said it is only through decentralisation the community can plan together for the general development in their respective regions.