THE disbursement of the local authorities equalisation fund has been put on hold following failures to account for its use in various councils countrywide.
Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale said councils have failed to account for the monthly allocation of funds sent to them through the ministry.
He was speaking yesterday when he paid a courtesy call on Siavonga council chairperson James Simataa at his office.
Mr Mwale is saddened that the councils are imprudent in the use of the equalisation fund that Government is giving them monthly.
He said there is a rule that 20 percent of the fund is invested in capital projects but not all the councils are honouring that condition.
Mr Mwale said some councils are using the whole amount of the equalisation fund on emoluments.
“I know you haven’t received the funds and this is because you have failed to give returns for the previous monies given to you,” Mr Mwale said.
He said local authorities must show why monies should continually flow when projects that must benefit people are not seen.
“I have been receiving phone calls from union leaders in various councils that workers have not been paid because they have not received the grant.
“I want 20 percent to go to development projects like boreholes, market structures and fee-paying toilets, among others. Be innovative and start doing something. Stop depending on Government to finance all your activities,” he said.
He said if the fund is used on salaries, councils must show proof.
Mr Mwale said the councils have burdened Government with supporting its employees countrywide.
The equalisation fund is five percent of the income tax returns for each council and this amount increases annually as the tax base for each council increases.
And Mr Simataa pledged to be accountable and ensure guidelines on the use of the funds are followed.
He said Siavonga needs urgent attention in road infrastructure development.
Mr Simataa said as a tourist destination, the poor state of roads in the district gives a bad impression of the region.