2)–Choma TC Mwiya backs crop levy

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Choma TC Mwiya backs crop levy

Choma,  July 3, 2014, ZANIS…. Choma Municipal Council Town Clerk  Mwiya Mwiya has supported  the move government was pondering to re-introduce crop levy saying this would help councils countrywide to significantly improve service delivery.

Mr. Mwiya said crop levy was the biggest source of revenue for districts such as Choma adding that the re-introduction of the revenue will help local authorities with dwindled resources  sustain their operations.

In an interview with ZANIS in Choma today, Mr. Mwiya noted that many councils in the country largely depended on crop levy but that since it was scrapped off in the past regime almost all the councils have had their operations crippled.

“We strongly support any such moves by the government because as you might be aware most local authorities  are grappling with financial woes and this has negatively affected their service delivery and

day-to-day operations,” said Mr. Mwiya.

“It has always been our wish as local authorities for government to re-introduce crop levy which most councils depended on to sustain their operations,” he added.

Local government and Housing Minister Emmanuel Chenda said recently that government was considering the possibility of re-introducing the crop levy in order to help councils increase their revenue base.

Mr. Mwiya  pointed out that  re-introduction of crop levy  in agricultural  endowed districts  like Choma  which has also become a provincial centre would lessen  the council ‘s reliance on external funding  to support wage bills and also enhance service delivery  to the growing population.

And Mr. Mwiya said the contractor engaged to construct 30 urban roads in Choma district has now moved on site.

China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Cooperation was supposed to commence works on the roads early this year but delayed due to logistical problems and the deadline was later extended to 15th June, 2013.

However, the contractor only moved on site this week and is expected to commence physical works soon.

Meanwhile, some farmers talked to have opposed any move by the government to re-introduce the crop levy saying it was retrogressive and exploitative.

Mr. David Siabukoko argued that imposing such a levy would be detrimental to farmers who are struggling to make a living on subsistence farming and advised local authorities to look for alternative sources of revenue other than crop levy.

He noted that even the announced floor price of K70 per 50 kilogram bag of maize was inadequate to meet all production costs adding that paying levy to councils would even make more farmers poorer and vulnerable.

“We are at pains to hear that government is pondering to re-introduce the crop levy because we feel this levy is exploitative and not in the best interest of poor farmers,” said Mr. Siabukoko who hails from Chief Siachitema in Kalomo district.

“ I humbly appeal on behalf of fellow farmers in the province to government not to entertain such thoughts of bringing back crop levy otherwise it will be tantamount to directly further impoverishing farmers countrywide,” he said.