LOCAL Government Permanent Secretary Bishop Edward Chomba has warned Local Authority Controlling Officers to stir off politics as they are civil servants.
In a stern warning to Town Clerks and Council Secretaries, Bishop Chomba said he will not tolerate the involvement of controlling officers or any or any other local government officers in politics, “be it, pro-government or opposition.”
“Why are you so fixated with politics, I am sending you a clarion warning, I will remove you, yours is service delivery, do just that,” Bishop Chomba warned the house of Local Government Controlling Officers in Ndola.
Bishop Chomba who was in Ndola for the official opening of the orientation workshop for Local Authorities on Accounting Policy Framework and other policies observed that Public resources have not been properly accounted as Local Authorities have failed to provide information to the auditors.
“I am urging the Town Clerks and Council Secretaries to take a keen interest in the audits and also ensure that all the information required by the auditors is provided with the stipulated time… I am aware that some are even experts at responding to audit queries, I will be sitting with the Auditor General, we have expert liars,” he cautioned.
He said Financial Statements and Accounting records will be audited using Public Finance Management Act No.1 of 2018, he urged Directors of Finance and Council Treasurers to adhere to the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act in order to avoid being found wanting.
“Provision of information to External Auditors as and when they require is a must as Section 82 of the Act may not be too kind for those who will ignore the advice. Ladies Gentlemen, the Report of the Auditor General on the Accounts of Local Authorities for the Financial years ended 31st December 2015, 2016 and 2017 findings included the failure to prepare Financial Statements, lack of updated Valuation Rolls, lack of title deeds, failure to fill key positions, failure to maintain properties and failure to adhere to the provisions of the Environmental Management Act,” he observed.
“Other issues contained in the Report include no-remittance of statutory contributions to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF). This shows that financial resources are not managed prudently. Further, as Councils you are obliged to collect fees and levies for various services you offer, which most of you have failed to do.”
Bishop Chomba also noted that the many financial challenges of councils are facing can only be alleviated when principal officers put more effort in revenue collection.
He said government is resolute that markets and bus stations will be run by the councils and no cadre interference would be tolerated.
“Ensure that Revenue Management systems are put in place that would prevent issues of theft, delayed and non-banking of Revenue. You should further take advantage of various Information Technology Innovations and Automate the Revenue Management systems,” he said.