Thursday, September 05, 2013

ILGAZ implores govt to re-introduce grain levy
By Kabanda Chulu
Tue 13 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE government should consider re-introducing the grain levy to help broaden the revenue base for councils, says Institute of Local Government Administrators of Zambia vice-president Bwanga Kapumpa.

And local government deputy minister Nicholas Banda has advised town clerks and council secretaries to familiarise themselves with the PF manifesto as they implement government policies.

During the 2013 ILGAZ annual general meeting and graduation dinner in Lusaka on Sunday night, Kapumpa said the system of local government had been abused in the past.

"In the past, central government treated local government as opponents instead of partners. We commend the PF government for changing things and for giving a clear road map on decentralisation. Once implemented decentralisation will create jobs and improve social service delivery," said Kapumpa. "We are happy that has taken over the wage bill but we need other grants that have been taken away and we also urge government to reconsider bringing back the grain levy to help broaden the revenue base especially for councils located in rural areas."

ILGAZ president Dan Longwe said the institute has proposed a draft bill to the government that would regulate professional conduct of members through an Act of Parliament.

He also proposed that councillors should be properly oriented in the field of local government and corporate governance if positive change is to be seen in councils.

Officiating at the function, Banda said the government was putting in place policies aimed at uplifting people's lives through service delivery.

"Meaningful development will only come if powers and resources are devolved to local authorities and this is why we shall implement the decentralisation policy and we expect ILGAZ members to strictly follow guidelines when administering constituency development funds and other resources in order for people to benefit," Banda said.

He advised councils to reposition themselves and embrace public-private-partnership (PPP) initiatives to enhance service delivery to people.

"Government will continue providing salaries for council employees so that locally generated resources are channeled to social service delivery but councils should also embrace PPP initiatives as well as getting familiarised with the PF manifesto as they implement government policies," said Banda.

ILGAZ admitted 14 town clerks and council secretaries as fellows and associates of the institute.

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