By AARON CHIYANZO
THE Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) has requested government to hand over the management of toll gates, motor vehicle licensing and electricity supply administration among others, to councils as constitutionally provided for, in order to enhance their revenue collection.
And the association has requested the government to increase the local authorities equalisation fund from the current five percent to 10 percent of the total contributions remitted.
Speaking when they paid a courtesy call on President Edgar Lungu at State House yesterday, association president Christopher Kang’ombe said that local authorities should take over the running of most institutions within their jurisdictions to enhance their revenue collection.
Mr Kang’ombe, who is the mayor of Kitwe, said that the collection of revenue through road tolls, motor vehicle licensing and electricity supply among others should be the preserve of councils.
He said that the management of institutions such as RTSA, Zesco, the NFRA and others should be left in the hands of the local authorities as provided for in the amended constitution. Mr Kang’ombe said that the devolving of powers, being part of the decentralisation policy would enable councils raise funds for the provision of quality services.
“Revenue sources such as motor vehicle licensing, road tolls and electricity supply among others should be handled by councils. This mandate is provided for in Article 147 of the constitution that local authorities should be in charge of these services. “So we have RTSA, NRFA and these other institutions to be managed by councils. This will enhance their revenue collection,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mr Kang’ombe said that the local authorities equalisation fund should be increased from the five percent to 10 percent of taxes collected.
He said that the adjustment to 10 percent would enable the Ministry of Local Government have enough money to share among councils.
The mayor also expressed concern over the increase in unplanned settlements and proposed that the cement levy be directed towards the upgrading of these settlements.
Mr Kang’ombe also said that the salaries for various local authority personnel should be revised upwards.
Local Government Minister, Vincent Mwale however said that Government would review how best councils could be helped to enhance revenue collection.