Government should reintroduce crop levy-Council

Workers tend to the maize crops on Millers Farm Lusaka, in Zambia, March 17, 2003. An initiative from the International Fund for Agricultural development helps female farmers in Zambia with HIV raise goats. Salim Henry:AP:File

KASEMPA District Council has urged Government to consider reintroducing crop levy which was scrapped in 2008 to help rural councils generate revenue.
Kasempa council secretary Evert Ng’andu said in an interview here that most rural councils preside over farmers and it is difficult for them to raise money from other sources.
“I am aware that this issue has been talked about several times over the years by different councils but we the councils who preside over people whose livelihood is farming find it very difficult to raise income elsewhere as many people actually live in villages,” Mr Ng’andu said.
He said despite being classified as “urban” Kasempa’s population is typically rural and very poor.
“As a district, we have a population of about 63,000 people but only 3,000 live in town. The rest are in villages and they depend on agriculture, which if there was crop levy, this council could have been generating revenue,” Mr Ng’andu said.
He said the flow of road traffic such as public buses and taxis in the district is erratic, making revenue collection nominal.
“There are other levies, but going by the population we have under our jurisdiction, we are not collecting much. For example, in the last six months, no one has come to register a marriage here! So crop levy was really key for councils like ours. We are really struggling,” he said.