LOCAL Government and Rural Development Minister Gary Nkombo says government will ensure the creation of management committees to run the affairs of markets and bus stations.
Speaking in Parliament, Friday, Nkombo said government would restore markets and bus stations as facilities that provide adequate services and a platform for trading and transportation.
The Minister said works were on course to upscale cashless revenue collection systems.
“Our focus is to restore markets and bus stations as facilities that provide adequate services and provide a platform for trading and transportation for improved standards of living for our people. Further, our aim is for these facilities to be safe and easily accessible to our citizens. In this regard, my Ministry will institutionalise the national market and bus station development fund for enhanced management and infrastructure development in the facilities. Management committees will be created to run the affairs of markets and bus stations in line with the markets and bus stations act no7 of 2007,” Nkombo said.
“Further, works are on course to upscale cashless revenue collection systems. With this initiative in place, government expects that revenue collection will tremendously improve and will be streamlined. I am pleased to inform this august house that my Ministry is currently implementing the electronic levy system in over 20 districts in the country including Lusaka City.”
Nkombo said the realignment of the Ministry to Local Government and Rural Development meant that the Ministry had a mandate to foster rural development.
“With his Excellency, the Republican President’s realignment of the Ministry of Local Government to Local Government and Rural Development, my Ministry now has the mandate to foster rural development in addition to its other equally key functions. This will involve improving the quality of life and economic well-being of our people living in the rural areas. Indeed, development must be equitable and participatory. We will therefore enhance our collaboration with all stakeholders, including our people at the local level as well as the traditional leadership in order to attain meaningful development,” he said.
“To enhance provision of social services both in rural and urban areas, my ministry facilitates the provision of municipal infrastructure and services. These include rehabilitation and maintenance of township and feeder roads, solid waste management, management of markets and bus stations as well as provision of fire and rescue services.”
Nkombo said the Ministry had procured 22 new performance-based contracts valued at K120 million for road projects for the period 2020 – 2023, covering approximately 1,000km in Lusaka.
“We are working to enhance local contractor participation on all road projects to create employment and growth of the local economy. Currently, my Ministry has procured 22 new performance-based contracts valued at K120 million for the period 2020 – 2023 covering approximately 1,000km in Lusaka. This will be extended to all the districts across the country. The feeder road network in the country is approximately 14,333km, 82 percent of which is in a deplorable state. My Ministry will therefore enhance programs such as the national feeder roads program in order to improve accessibility, mobility and connectivity to agricultural sites and social and economic facilities in rural areas,” he said.
“We will ensure that adequate participation of local contractors on feeder road projects under my Ministry as a deliberate policy to empower Zambian contractors and contribute to growth of the local economy. Currently, a total number of 166 contracts have been procured covering 6,390km and valued at k8.71 billion. This brings the cumulative number of ongoing contracts to 211 covering 8,657.05km in various districts across the country and with a total contract value of K11.76 billion. In line with the new dawn administration’s vision of facilitating equitable development, my Ministry will ensure the rehabilitation of feeder roads in all districts across the country.”
Nkombo said the Ministry was developing regulations to operationalize the Solid Waste Regulation and Management Act, No 20 of 2018.
“My Ministry is working to strengthen the policy and legislative framework to create an enabling environment for solid waste management service provision. In this regard, we are developing regulations to operationalize the Solid Waste Regulation and Management Act, No 20 of 2018. The regulations will provide detailed guidelines for enhancement of service delivery by all players in the sector. Further, the solid waste management policy is being finalized and will soon be launched,” he said.
“To further enhance service delivery in solid waste management, government has instituted solid waste management utility companies with local authorities as shareholders. In this regard, the Lusaka Integrated Solid Waste Management Company has been created as a pilot, with Lusaka city council and the Ministry of Finance as the shareholders. The process of operationalizing the company is on course despite funding challenges.”
Meanwhile, Nkombo said local authorities were expected to migrate from activity-based budgeting to output-based budgeting which focused on performance enhancement.
“Cognisant to his Excellency the President’s emphasis to foster decentralization and the devolution of functions to local authorities with matching resources, my Ministry is undertaking various initiatives meant to strengthen the capacity of local authorities to undertake the devolved functions and efficiently manage resources. As a priority, we will ensure that all the ward development committees are instituted and operationalized with appropriate guidelines and infrastructure. Ward development committees are a key structure in service provision and citizen participation in development at the local level,” said Nkombo.
“Also key among the initiatives is the sustainable management of local authority debt which will be facilitated by the debt management strategy that my Ministry will implement in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. Further, we are working to enhance transparent and realistic budget development and implementation in local authorities through appropriate budgeting systems. In this regard, all local authorities are expected to migrate from activity-based budgeting to output based budgeting which has a focus on performance enhancement.”