Minister of Local Government Charles Banda says government will continue supporting and creating an enabling environment for local authorities for them to implement the Local Economic Development ( LED), programmes so as to enable them to develop their own business plans through the provision of relevant policy and legislation.
Dr Banda said that the strategies are supposed to be formulated within the overall objectives of the developmental objectives of the country as enshrined in the Seventh National Development plan.
He said Local authorities must be committed to ensuring that the implementation of the LED initiative is supported by using existing policy legislations.
Dr Banda said this this during the Launch of the Local Economic Development fair and Local Authorities in Lusaka today.
Dr Banda said government is committed to ensuring that Local Authorities receive support to implement local economic development strategies through various initiatives to enhance value chains and mobilization of resources and expertise through business plan development.
“The Objective is to increase the capacity of the Local Authorities to foster local economic Development in their localities through the formulation and implementation strategies aimed at locally driven Local Development,’’ he noted .
He said government values the partnership and support that exists between the Local government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) and the Common wealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) as well as the European union (EU), which he said has seen the development and implementation of various local economic development programs.
Dr Banda said in 2016 a pilot phase programme was implemented which focused on improving service delivery and increased community participation in economic Development.
He further said that the programme also targeted to establish Multi stakeholder that would enable local authorities to work together to address and identify weakness within their local economies .
“Government embarked on the second phase of rollout from 2019 to 2021 with support from cooperating partners which will eventually lead to a full rollout of the programme to all the other local authorities in the Country ,’’ Dr Banda noted .
He noted that the second phase involves a project to enhance Local government capacity for development in the eleven local authorities which are being supported to develop local economic development strategies formulated during the pilot phase .
Dr Banda named the eleven councils as Chongwe, Kafue, Rufunsa, Kasama, and Luposohi.
Others include Mporokoso, Mpulungu, Luwingu, Ndola, Luanshya and Masaiti.
And LGAZ President who is also Chingola Mayor Titus Tembo said the association is confident that the implantation of the local economic development strategies will contribute to job creation, economic growth and a reduction in poverty.
“it is our resolve to continue strengthening the capacities of local authorities so that they effectively utilize their economic potential ,’’ Mr Tembo stated .