Local authorities should align their programmes and activities to the national vision of attaining an upper middle-income economy by 2030, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando said this while addressing mayors and chairpersons of local authorities from across the country gathered in the capital to launch the gender responsive toolkit on Monday.
He said local authorities should emulate government agencies such as the Civil Registry and the Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) which have digitalised their operations for the benefit of the public.
Passports which used to take months to get, are now obtained in a week, the same with drivers’ license disks.
“This is not happening by accident, it is happening because central government has come up with a mantra to ensure that there is service delivery,” said Chitando.
“Now, what are our plans as local authorities? Do you still want people to continue traveling long distances to get to a local authority cash desk, wait in a queue to pay for rates, why can’t that be done over the phone using mobile money transfer facilities?” asked Chitando.
He said following the launch by President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the Local Authorities Service Delivery blueprint on November 1 this year, councils should hit the ground running to operationalise it and offer citizens across the country the much-anticipated services.
Chitando challenged local authorities to come up with an implementation matrix spelling out a clear road map that shows actions to be taken to deliver quality and unfettered services to the people.
“This is an instruction that all local authorities should implement and provide traceable evidence of progress in a dash board format,” he said.
He reminded the mayors and chairpersons that service delivery has drastically declined in most local authorities and directed that every council should come up with service delivery targets that aim to create safe habitats and promote investor confidence.
“People must see, live and observe an upper middle-income society not only from the income per capita point of view, but also from the services they receive from government and local authorities similarly,” said Chitando.
Both Government and local authorities have a duty to promote gender equity by implementing the legal and political commitments in the national Constitution, he said.
The government, Chitando said, has already made a giant step towards women participation in decision making in local government through the 30 percent women quota which has seen a massive increase of councillors to 587 women across all local authorities. – New Ziana