Members of the Local Government Association (LGA) led by their President Christopher Kang’ombe yesterday met President Edgar Lungu at State House to discuss matters affecting councils in the country.
The meeting discussed issues concerning funding to the councils for service delivery and unplanned settlement which has been a long standing matter and an alleged cause of waterborne diseases.
The LGA has proposed to the president that the equalization fund to the councils be adjusted upward from 5% to 10% of the income raised as income for the country.
LGA President Christopher Kangómbe noted that the 5% funding the councils receives as equalization grant is not enough to improve service delivery to the people hence, their proposal for an upward adjustment.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mr. Kangómbe disclosed that the association has also proposed to the president that part of the cement levy that has been planned in the 2018 national budget be given to the local authority to upgrade unplanned settlements in various towns and cities.
He noted that unplanned settlement is partly responsible for the outbreak of cholera the country is battling with currently as such areas have no proper water reticulation system and water.
And the Local Government Association has asked the central government to relinquish the authority of collecting levies such as motor vehicle licensing and toll fees to the councils as provided for by the constitution.
Mr. Kangómbe noted that under article 147 of the constitution of Zambia, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and the National Road Fund Agency are supposed to be agencies of the council and collect levies for the local authority.
He said all the 109 councils countrywide are complaining that they have been limited by resources to deliver services to the people because the central government has held on to the role of collecting some levies and taxes.
He said the meeting with the head of state was successful as the President showed commitment to supporting areas that will enhance revenue collection for the council.
The LGA President was hopeful that such engagements with the head of state will continue on a quarterly basis to review the various instructions the president has given.
And Local Government Minister Vincent Mwale said the meeting was important to allow the president understand the vision of the mayors and the local authority.
Mr. Mwale noted that the local government is currently on spotlight because of the outbreak of cholera in the country which is the poor management of the Public health and waste management that has not been well handled by the local authority.
He said it is also important to discuss the issue of unplanned settlements which has not seen the light of day since independence.
The meeting was attended by all the ten vice presidents of the local government association from the ten provinces.
Local Government Commission Chairperson Amos Musonda, Secretary to the Teasury Fredson Yamba and Local Government Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga were also in attendance.