Local Government Minister Dr Charles Banda has ordered Lusaka Mayor Miles Sampa and other local authority officials around the country to stick to their lanes and desist from closing some Chinese businesses without following procedure.

Speaking to journalists at State House, Tuesday, Dr Banda said government regretted the actions taken by some local authorities officials in revoking licences of some foreign business premises without following laid down procedure, in apparent reference to Sampa who has in the past week closed about three Chinese owned businesses.

“I would like to say here that we regret certain actions that have been taken by our officials from local authorities who have unfortunately gone round business premises without following the laid down procedures and regulations purporting to be suspending business licences. I want to say here that we have got rules and regulations to follow when we granting business permits by way of licences and if we are going to revoke a licence, there is also a procedure that is followed, it is not done at the spur of moment and we have got institutions who are designated to do that through the town clerks and the relevant directorates, who are in charge of licensing,” Dr Banda said.

“What we have seen in the recent past by some of our officials who have unilateral business and declared that they have closed those businesses, they have withdrawn licences and so on that is a very regrettable situation which I want to say here must never be repeated. I am sending this message to all my councils, 116 councils in this country that we must be orderly. There is procedure which we should act when we take such type of action.”

He said government would take action on local authority officials who had over stepped their mandate.

“I want to advise all my colleagues in the local authorities, let us keep our lane! If it is not my job to do certain works, let me give chance to those who are responsible for those to do those works because the moment I am going to involve myself into something I am not supposed to do, I am bound to error. And when you error like that, it means that you portraying a wrong image of how business is supposed to run in this country. Remember, we have a liberalized economy which we are following in this country and because of that, there are rules and laws also attached to it. We as local authorities are regulated by laws of this land,” said Dr Banda.

“So, I want to say here that a lot of things that have happened, people have complained. We actually regret as government and we want to assure you and correct the situation to ensure that all the officers are acting according to the mandates that they hold in the offices where they are. Those that are going to error, definitely we are going to take action! Like we are going to take action now, we have to take action to those that have gone overboard to ensure that these things are not repeated. Let us be orderly! We don’t exist as an island. We need everybody to participate in order to help us to ensure that the wheels of the economy of this country are running and because of that, let’s observe the law. We shall communicate to you the action we will take but just now know that we have taken note of all the issues that have happened and those that will be found wanting we are going to deal with them and we are going to communicate with you.”