—Local Government and Housing Minister, Emmanuel Chenda, has disclosed that preparations for the implementation of the Decentralisation Policy have reached the final stages.
Mr Chenda said government will shortly commence the actual implementation of the key provisions of the policy.
The minister said this in Lusaka today during the commemoration of the African Day on Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development.
He said the Patriotic Front government is committed to the principles and values of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Development as promoted by the African Union.
Mr Chenda said this is because government is a firm believer in the utmost importance for government to operate on the basis of decisions made by citizens.
He said decentralisation, if well implemented, enables citizens to take part in government decision making processes and, therefore, offers enhanced opportunities to put democracy into practice especially at the local level.
The minister said in this way, decentralisation also improves the possibility to use public funds in a needs oriented and efficient way.
He said government will, therefore, continue to pursue the decentralisation and local government reforms in order to ensure that necessary political and other resources for the improvement and transformation of communities and livelihoods at local level are made available.
The Local Government Minister assured the nation that government is determined to continue improving the standards of living of all citizens.
He said the unprecedented infrastructural investments in the priority sectors of energy, transport, infrastructural development, health and agriculture among others that are rapidly transforming the socio-economic profile of the country is testimony of government’s strides to improve people’s lives.
He said these investments are creating new opportunities through which to uplift the quality of people’s lives in all areas of human endeavour.
He said the creation of new districts across the country in particular has brought hope for human and sustainable development to areas that have remained underdeveloped since independence.
Speaking earlier, Lusaka Mayor, Mulenga Sata, stated that decentralisation is the only sure way for local authorities across the country to step up service delivery to communities they serve.
The Lusaka Mayor said in a speech ready for him by his deputy, Potipher Tembo, that the Lusaka City Council is ready to take on board the functions to be devolved by the central government in addition to its mandate as stipulated in the Local Government Act Chapter 281 of the Laws of Zambia.
He appealed to government to hasten the pace of decentralisation, saying inclusive governance is a key to enhancing the quality of life of citizens.
And Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary, Stanford Msichili, thanked government for giving councils unprecedented levels of grants that have never been seen before.