Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary Ed Chomba says the local authorities will start rolling out the Electronic Levy (E-levy) payment system in an effort to increase revenue base in all Councils.
Speaking when he opened the E-levy orientation workshop, Bishop Chomba indicated that the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic adversely affected economic activities in Local Authorities due to challenges faced in revenue collection.
The Permanent Secretary further observed increased pilfering among revenue collectors due to the physical cash handling system in the Local Authorities.
In order to enhance collection efficiency of Council revenues, Bishop Chomba disclosed that his Ministry devised the E- levy payment system at collection points in markets and bus stations.
“The roll out of the E-levy could not have come at a better time than when local Authorities are striving to expand their revenue base in the midst of constraint resource allocation. To this end, the need for Local Authorities to devise smart revenue collection mechanisms which aim to maximize collection efficiency is urgent,” Bishop Chomba stated.
The Permanent Secretary disclosed that the new system will support the operationalization of the markets and bus station funds.
He explained that from the collected revenues in selected markets and bus stations, 30% of the funds will be channeled to develop new trading places in needy areas.
Bishop Chomba added that the smart revenue collection mechanism will be a more convenient and secure payment alternative for clients.
“It will provide citizens with a convenient and secure online payment options for various services provided in the markets and bus stations,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary noted that the implementation of the E-levy payment system is a great milestone for the Ministry, which shows the transformational resolve of President Edgar Lungu vision to attain a smart Zambia.
He revealed that implementation of the E-levy payment system will first target Local Authorities that are poorly performing especially in Western and Southern Provinces to help build capacity and further extend to other Councils across the country.
Meanwhile, speaking in an interview Chalimbana Local Government Training Institute Acting College Principal, James Paipi assured that the institution was ready to train participants in order to build capacity for Local authorities.
Mr. Paipi stated that since a gap was identified in revenue collection activities, the training institute will take up its task of ensuring that training interventions are provided in order to improve the performance of Councils in service provision.
“One of the areas that has been identified and requires intervention is the issue of revenue collection by the Councils. Among the reasons observed is that due to the conventional systems which are being used in our Local authorities, in terms of generating revenue for various activities including markets as well as bus stations, the Local authorities have been losing a lot of revenue,” Mr. Paipi indicated.
In November 2018, the Ministry of Local Government entered into a contract with Dot Com Zambia Limited for the design and implementation of an E-levy payment system in order to maximize revenue collection efficiency in Local Authorities. The pilot was implemented at BH market which was successful. The programme will be extended to various Councils in phases starting with Southern and Western Provinces.