‘State won’t interfere in councils’

GOVERNMENT will not interfere with the operations of councils concerning their approved levies as a way of gaining political mileage, President Edgar Lungu has said.

He observed that government’s interference in council levies had been affecting the revenue base for local authorities hence they have not been operating efficiently.

Mr. Lungu cited the abolition of the bicycle and crop levies by the previous government as a move that affected the Chipata municipal council’s revenue collection.

He said this in Chipata yesterday when he was conferred with the honour of free man of the municipality of Chipata.

President Lungu becomes the third President to be conferred with the free man of Chipata municipal council after first President Kenneth Kaunda and South African President Jacob Zuma

Mr. Lungu pledged to uphold the confidence and trust that the Chipata municipal council had bestowed on him.

And Mr. Lungu said government had started implementing the revised national decentralisation policy in phases with effect from January 2015.

Mr. Lungu said the implementation of the revised national decentralization policy was the pledge of successful performance in the pursuance of the Patriotic Front (PF) manifesto.

He said he was convinced that the implementation of the policy would not only strengthen the operations of local authorities but also fortify the country’s democratic dispensation through inclusive governance.

And Mr. Lungu said government had shown strong commitment to strengthen the local government system through increased budgetary allocation to the sector.

He reaffirmed government’s commitment to support the local government system in order to better the lives of the people in the country.

Meanwhile, President Lungu has urged the people of Eastern Province to remain united and uphold the ‘One Zambia: One Nation’ unifying motto.

Speaking when he arrived at Chipata airport yesterday, President Lungu thanked the people of Eastern Province for the support rendered to him prior to the January 20 presidential elections.

The Head of State was met on arrival at the airport by Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone, opposition MMD Kasenengwa Member of Parliament Victoria Kalima and her Chipata Central counterpart Mtolo Phiri and many other senior Government officials.

The President is in Eastern Province to among other programmes ,officiate at today’s Nc’wala traditional ceremony of the Ngoni-speaking people.

The President is accompanied by Minister of Local Government and Housing John Phiri, Minister of Tourism and Arts Jean Kapata and Minister of Youth and Sport Vincent Mwale.-ZANIS

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