—Government, in partnership with the German Development Co-operation, has launched the Good Practices Guidelines to improve performance of councils in the country.
Areas covered in the documents include revenue collection, development and use of cadastre database and human resource management.
Others are development of service standards and charters, stakeholder communication and participation strategies, and strategic planning and management.
Minister of Local Government and Housing, Emerine Kabanshi, says the good practices guidelines were in line with the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s agenda to reach out to citizens in all parts of the country through the provision of good services.
Ms Kabanshi said government understood and appreciated the challenges that local authorities faced and as such the guidelines would not only aid in decentralisation but also provide councils with tools to confront the complex situation they operated in.
She said this in Lusaka yesterday at the launch for the Good Practice Guidelines for councils in Zambia.
The minister said the launch was timely following the Ministry of Finance’s training of additional councils last year in preparation for the Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks and Activity Based Budgets (MTEF/ABB) to align local authorities’ budgets to the central government budget format.
She added that the manuals, particularly those on strategic planning and revenue collection, would provide the councils with the new procedures that the budget format required.
Ms Kabanshi said she was aware that all Provincial Local Government Officers (PLGOs) had familiarised themselves with the manuals and thus urged the officers to share the guidelines with the councils in their respective provinces not only in hardcopy form but also in content.
She emphasised that the decentralisation process was not an end in itself but a reform process that would contribute to a more equitable distribution of wealth, improved service provision and stronger political participation by all Zambians.
And German Ambassador to Zambia Bernd Finke has said more could have been achieved when it came to the implementation of various decentralisation programmes that have been embarked on in the country during the last ten years.
Ambassador Finke said his government followed with interest the decision of the Zambian government to create additional districts stating a need for coherent implementation strategy to mainstream decentralisation in all government activities.
He said decentralisation was a multi-sectorial cross cutting issue affecting everyone and therefore a road map clearly outlining steps to be taken within a specified timeframe would go a long way in securing future support for the process.