THE Local Government has lost public confidence due to past policies that undermined service capabilities in the country’s local authorities, President Edgar Lungu has observed.
President said there was urgent need to restore public confidence in the councils and that that was only possible if the challenges such as proper land and spatial planning, water supply, waste management and road infrastructure development were addressed.
The President has pledged his personal and Government’s commitment in maintaining a strengthened and efficient local government system that would be responsive to the needs of the people.
Speaking at the Joint 59th annual conference of the Local Government Association of Zambia and the 12th general assembly of the Alliance of Mayors and Municipal Leaders at Chrisma Hotel in Livingstone yesterday, President Lungu said local authorities needed to address the challenges of land use and spatial planning, road infrastructure, waste management and improve water supply if they were to restore public confidence.
He said his Government had recognized the need to devise policies that would enhance the performance of local authorities in an effort to transform them into responsive and more accountable institutions.
“In order to restore public confidence in our local government, the challenges such as proper use of land and spatial planning, waste management, improving water supply and road infrastructure must be addressed without fail. Local government is the closest point of contact between Government and the people and I am therefore keen to ensure that my administration rebuilds public confidence in this critical unit of government administration. Most of the challenges facing local government are attributed to the past policies that undermined service capabilities in our councils,” President Lungu said.
President Lungu said the Central Government was not going to unnecessarily interfere with local authorizes’ legitimate function formulating by-laws which he said included local taxes, levies and other revenue generating measures.
The Head of State observed that while he realised that low budgetary allocations were a contributing factor to service delivery in the councils, he was alive to the fact that the scarcity of skilled and motivated personnel was yet another challenge. The President directed the Minister of Local Government and Housing to expedite the process of upgrading physical infrastructure and training curriculum at Chalimbana Local Government Training Institute.
He explained that decentralization through devolution played an important role in promoting democratic decision-making, empowering communities and building capacity.