The Zambia Society for Public Administration says Lusaka Mayor Wilson Kalumba’s suggestion to collect garbage levy from mobile phone bills is illogical.

In a statement yesterday, ZSPA president Kelvin Esiasa urged Lusaka residents to reject the proposal.

“We want to appeal to the people of Lusaka to reject the proposal by His worship the Mayor Wilson Kalumba’s intention to start collecting garbage levy via the telecoms. We feel that this proposal lacks credibility, merit and should not be supported for any cause. We reject it because we feel it could be a very unfair practice, something that cannot be supported. Because for instance, if a family of 6 has 6 telephone numbers, it will mean this family will be required to be paying 6 dollars per Month. There is no classification between the number of people living in a particular house in relation to the number of garbage that they may be disposing of,” Esiasa stated.

“There is no credibility in what the mayor is proposing and it is meant to abuse institutions like ZICTA . What the mayor needs to do is to engage the citizens and see how best they can make the city clean and ensure that we who live in the city are committed and responsible enough to promote a clean culture and ensure that refuse is disposed of in a designated place. Garbage in the central business district and other high density areas is raising concerns that require citizens to support the local authority in maintaining it.”

He advised Kalumba to find other means of improving garbage collection.

“Having said that, we want to see the mayor engage the citizens in transforming this city to be a better place. The Mayor is free to come up with other avenues to strengthen the collections of Garbage Levy, Telecoms will only abuse the process and there will be no credibility or accountability because there are people who registered their numbers in Lusaka but are no longer living here. It is very important that we see how best we can create a credible process to ensure that the right people pay the right garbage levy. We are not objecting to the garbage Levy, we are simply saying that there is need to find better avenues of collecting it,” Esiasa stated.

He also observed that the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) was diverting from its original mandate.

“We would also like to put it on record that as an organisation that is interested in promoting public service excellence especially in Public institutions, we are getting concerned that ZICTA is diverting from its original mandate. We have seen that of late, the institution has been used in a lot of activities, some of which we think are going to derail its efficiency. For instance, the proposal by the Lusaka Mayor to be collecting garbage fees through telecoms. No Telecom in the country has been mandated to collect levy on behalf of any city authority. If the mayor is saying that every person has to pay garbage levy, then we need to find our own payment option other than through the talk time that we buy. He should give us a payment point and process so that we can all go and pay. He should also ensure that the council carries out a valid census and also duly register all Lusaka residents,” stated Esiasa.

“The Mandate of ZICTA is not to get involved in such activities, but to protect information communication systems and people’s personal Data. We have submitted a lot of information to ZICTA and it is not supposed to be used for operational activities or be sold to third parties that we are not obliged to. We have also seen that many people receive unsolicited messages, information, announcements and invitations through phones that they have not subscribed to. ZICTA, being an institution of high caliber is fully aware that nowadays in the telecom world, everyone has to subscribe to any information that they want to receive. The forms that we fill in with ZICTA do not indicate that we will be receiving any notices whether from political parties or the government or from any other place.”