GOVERNMENT says it is considering restoring local government taxes to broaden the tax base for local authorities.
Local Government and Housing Minister, Emmanuel Chenda said there was need for the local government taxes to be brought back to broaden the revenue base for struggling local authorities.
Mr Chenda in a speech read for him by his deputy, Nicholas Banda said the ministry was working on improving the revenue base and increasing the budget for local authorities.
“Let me assure you that my ministry is addressing all the issues and restoring local taxes, levies and charges in order to broaden the revenue base,” he said.
Mr Chenda said this during the official opening of the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) annual general meeting at Kansanshi Hotel in Solwezi yesterday.
He, however, expressed concern with the manner in which local authorities were using grants and that some of them did not produce good results.
Mr Chenda also expressed concern at the high levels of corruption and illegal allocation of land by some local authorities.
He stressed that he had received reports that some councillors had abandoned their civic responsibilities by engaging in illegal land allocation at the expense of service delivery.
The Minister appealed to LGAZ to strengthen the sensitisation campaign on corruption to its members.
He called on councillors to uphold ethical standards if they had to survive under the Patriotic Front Government.
“I expect nothing but integrity in you all. You must show exemplary leadership and managerial qualities,” he said.
He added that the Government would continue to recognise LGAZ as a legitimate body in presenting the interests of councils.
LGAZ presiding chairman, John Kabongo called on all those who will be voted into office to work on improving the welfare of local authorities.
Solwezi Mayor Ezekiel Mulonga urged those to be voted for to emulate the good works of the previous executive.
Meanwhile, four councillors among them, Lusaka Mayor Mulenga Sata are vying for the position of LGAZ president in today’s elections.
The other three are Ndola Mayor Samuel Munthali, former Livingstone Mayor Aggrey Njekwa and former Lusaka Mayor Daniel Chisenga who is defending the seat.
Mr Sata in an interview in Solwezi said his decision to contest as president was not motivated by him being the Republican President’s son and that he was not pushed by anyone.
“I did not choose to be born from the President. What is incumbent is for me to use my ability to do what I want. I am not trying to ride on the brand of the President,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Munthali and Mr Chisenga said they were not intimidated by the President’s son’s decision to compete with them.
Mr Munthali said he was 100 per cent confident of scooping the presidency of LGAZ and that he was not threatened by anyone.
Mr Chisenga said he was also confident of returning the seat.
He however, expressed disappointment with some party officials who are alleged to have imported thugs to disrupt the election.
Times of Zambia