The Bishop of Chipata Diocese and President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops George Lungu has directed that no Catholic Institution in Eastern Province should access empowerment funds through the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.
Bishop Lungu says while he is aware that Government has come up with the Church Empowerment fund to help churches as they struggle financially, the ZCCB has taken a stand to respectively decline receiving or accessing the funds.
In a statement, Bishop Lungu says in the principles of social justice and preferential options for the poor, the Church prefers to see the same money being channeled to other needy areas such as debt servicing, paying retirees and workers at Chipata City Council who have stayed for nine months without salaries.
He explained that it would also be prudent for government to channel the resources to the health sector to procure personal protective equipment, essential drugs and deploying more staff.
And Bishop Lungu has questioned the source of the Church empowerment funds saying people need to know where it is coming from and how it will be accounted for.
Meanwhile, Bishop Lungu says the timing of these initiatives leaves room for speculation as it coincides with activities culminating into elections.