Councils urged to put houses in order
DELEGATES to the just ended inaugural Local Government Investment Conference (Logic) in Victoria Falls have called on urban local authorities to engage industry players locally and internationally to promote investment.
The conference, which was held under the theme: “Repositioning urban local authorities as agents of industrialisation, investment promotion and socio-economic development” sought to mobilise local authorities to collectively lure investment and identify service delivery projects in their respective areas.
During the business event, it was highlighted that there was a disconnection between local authorities and state agencies that are partners in service delivery and thus the need for engagement to come up with capital projects.
The conference recommended engagement with industry to revive hopes for revenue at a time when councils’ only source of revenue are ratepayers.
It was also recommended that Logic should be an annual event to include Rural District Councils, new housing projects should embrace smart technology where houses should be installed with solar powered water geysers as well as to have communication and cooperation among themselves.
Harare Mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni, who is Urban Councils Association president, said the conference was a success. “This was very successful,” he said. “We commend the call for local authorities to reposition themselves as it creates a realisation of who we are and the opportunities that lie ahead.”
Clr Manyenyeni said what was left now is for local authorities to work on timeframes and deal with the issue of when they can implement specific goals.
Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA) president Councillor Martin Moyo, who is also the Mayor of Bulawayo, said there was a need for coordinated efforts by local authorities and other stakeholders for them to achieve service delivery goals.
“This was a resounding success and learning curve. We all want service delivery and as such we should not be antagonistic but collaborate as urban local authorities. We have had some conferences in the past, but not of this magnitude.
“And now our only hope is that in future, we communicate and work together and we know this will work out because where there is a will there is a way,” he said.
Loca l Government, Public Works and National Housing Permanent Secretary Engineer George Mlilo encouraged councils to be transparent and desist from corrupt tendencies.
He encouraged them to fill all positions held by acting managers saying having people on acting capacity dissuades potential investors.
Engineer Mlilo singled out some councils that he said should put their houses in order as a matter of urgency.
He said Lupane Local Board should quickly fill the position of Town Secretary while condemning some prophets of doom within the Gweru Municipality whom he said were working hard to ‘pull down’ the council which is being run by a commission.
On Zvishavane Town Council, Eng Mlilo condemned actions of the town’s council chairman whom he said makes autocratic decisions without consulting other council officials.
He also urged Harare, Marondera and Mutare to put their houses in order.
“All we are trying to do is create an environment for business. As municipalities you should have prospectus which spells out who you are and what you are doing as a town. People should know what’s happening in council, so let’s not have select by night deals which harbour corruption,” said Eng Mlilo. He also reiterated the need for councils to observe the 70/30 percent ratio when crafting their 2017 budgets. — @ ncubeleon
Engineer George Mlilo