Letter to the Editor

Municipalities should publish financial reports

Dear editor,
KINDLY allow me to air my views about what I think regarding financial accountability of municipalities.
City, municipal and district councils are all public institutions, which receive funding from the central government.
The funding includes but not limited to Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Municipalities also raise funds through ground rates, land rates, trading licences, fire certificates, sell of graves to those who can afford and personal levy, among others.
Logically, the local governments are supposed to make public their statements of income and expenditure after each financial year-end.
If banks and other financial institutions, which are privately owned are required by law to publish their financial statements, why not municipalities which serve the public in their respective localities and who pay different types of levies?
According to the Local Government Act No 281 of the Laws of Zambia, section 43, it is stated thus:
Section 43(1): A Council shall cause true accounts of its revenue and expenditure kept,
Section 43(2): The accounts of a council, together with all books, deeds, contracts, vouchers, receipts and other documents thereto, shall at all reasonable times be open to the inspection of any councillor and any interested person
Section 43(3): The accounts of a council shall be made up and balanced for each financial year of the council and a summarised statement thereof certified under the hand of the treasurer of the council, shall be presented to the council at a meeting to be held within six months after the end of the financial year of the council, or within such longer period as the minister may determine.
The Minister of Local Government and Housing with his counterpart at the Ministry of Finance should look into this issue and compel councils to be transparent. This will even reduce cases of misapplication or deliberate misuse of funds such as CDF and it will assist in laying a firm foundation for the yet to be implemented decentralisation policy which entails devolving decision making to lower levels of Government.
Kapiri Mposhi

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