Poor pension contributions among councils worries government
Livingstone, June 14, ZANIS ——– Government says it is deeply concerned with poor remittances of pension contributions to the Local Authority Superannuation Funds (LASF).
Local Government and Housing Deputy Minister Forrie Tembo said very few Councils in Southern Province are doing well in the remittances of pension contributions to LASF.
The deputy minister has since directed all the councils in the province to start remitting pension contributions to LASF immediately.
Officially opening the LASF Consultative workshop for Southern province councils held at Chrismar Hotel today, Mr Tembo said it was sad that despite the province endowed with rich money spinning business ventures, most Councils in the province have defaulted in their pension contributions to LASF this year.
Mr Tembo said he was aware that council’s country wide owed LASF colossal sums of money which has affected the running of LASF but that unlike other regions, Southern province was endowed with rich agricultural land, water resources, Fish and other unrivalled tourist attractions which should be used as money spinners to generate revenue for councils.
He urged Principals and Chief Officers in the 13 councils in the province to exercise innovations when coming up with new plans of investment.
Mr Tembo noted that the failure by the local authorities countrywide to remit pension contributions has adversely affected the operations of LASF resulting in delays in the payments of pensioners.
The Deputy Minister pointed out that the Patriotic Front government has been making consistent monthly contributions to all local authorities in the country to ease their debt burden and be able to contribute to LASF consistently and wondered why councils have not been effectively contributing to LASF.
He stressed that the resumption of remittances or pension contributions to LASF by all local authorities must be treated with the urgency it deserves and should start immediately because government was committed to reduce poverty through prompt payment of
benefits to pensioners.
“The PF government has been making consistent monthly contributions to all the councils in the country to ease their debt burden and be able to contribute to LASF consistently and I therefore, would like to urge the senior officer s gathered here to treat the issue of LASF
contributions with the urgency it deserves since government is religiously doing its part,” said Mr Tembo.
“As you are aware my government is committed to reduce poverty in the nation and prompt payment of benefits to beneficiaries is one such measure,” he added.
He also noted that his ministry was happy that the workshop was of great importance as it will enable both parties to renew their respective commitment and achieve common goals.
And Deputy Chairman of Local Government Service Commission Charles Mwandila said the commission has continued to recruit highly trained officers in all the local authorities since last year in a bid to ensure effective service delivery.
Mr Mwandila explained that most local authorities in the country had been run by semi-qualified personnel, a situation which led to poor service delivery but added that the commission was committed to improve service delivery in the councils countrywide through recruitment of qualified officers.
He said since December last year the commission embarked on countrywide recruitment exercise with 346 officers having been posted to old and newly created councils so far.
Mr Mwandila also said 10 Environmental Planners have been employed in councils for the first time to enhance issues of waste management which has been a big challenge for most local authorities.
Apart from that, the commission has so far recruited 77 Health Inspectors, 15 Civil Engineers, 98 Accountant Assistants, 113 Internal Auditors, 44 Accountants, 310 Firemen and 10 Librarians all aimed at enhancing service delivery.
Meanwhile, Mr Mwandila said the commission was facing a number of challenges including lack of information management systems, weak disciplinary code, lack of a training policy and bad work culture in some local authorities which hinder effective service delivery.
“We have a number of challenges including poor work culture, lack of information management system, weak disciplinary code but I can assure you that all these challenges are being addressed,” said Mr Mwandila.
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