Chipata City Council has presented the 2018 budget with an estimated cost of 68.9 million Kwacha.
Council Finance Committee Chairperson Naphtali Banda says that about 51.4 million of the budget will come from local revenue, about 11 million kwacha from national grants while 5.6 million kwacha will come from local development funds.
Mr. Banda says that the local authority will spend over 20 million Kwacha on service provision in the year 2018.
He was speaking when he presented the budget estimates for the year 2018 and narrative delimitation of Chipangali and Kasenengwa boundaries for confirmation and approval in the council chamber yesterday.
Mr. Banda says the council has introduced a parking fee by-law, in an effort to increase the revenue base, where taxi drivers will start paying five kwacha per day while ordinary vehicles will be charged 2 kwacha per hour.
Mr. Banda says the council will be setting up 150 ordinary parking slots and 50 taxi slots within the central business district.
He further indicated that the total cost special committee budgeted income for 2018 has increased by 877,000 Kwacha.
And Chipata City Mayor Sinoya Mwale expressed disappointment over the low turnout of residents during the meeting.
Mr. Mwale says he will stop chairing meetings that do not have representation from members of the public.
He says it is important for people to attend council meetings, in order for them to know the developmental plans the council is doing in the city.
Government has assigned the provincial labour office to follow up on the issue where more than 200 workers have lost their jobs at Cargill Cotton Company in Chipata.
Provincial Minister Makebi Zulu says that government is aware that Cargill has sold the business to Parrogate.
Mr. Zulu explains that in view of the concept of freedom of contract, the workers are free to either enter into an agreement with Parrogate, on being offered or be paid what’s due to them in compliance with the applicable law.
He says that the role of government in the matter is to ensure that the workers do not suffer an injustice, in what the minister has described as unfortunate process.
Meanwhile the United Party for National Development UPND has accused government of failing to handle the issue of job losses at Cargill.
Deputy National Chairperson for Youth and Sports Development Michael Chuzu says that government is quick to address issues of job losses in the mining sector but reluctant to address losses in other sectors.
Mr. Chuzu says the provincial administration needs to actively address the matter because the number of workers involved is too high whose families will be greatly affected.
Zambia Union for the Disabled has called on Government to consider promoting more people with disabilities to senior government positions.
President for Zambia Union for the Disabled, Pasco Mulenga says as the union is commemorating the third anniversary for the late President Michael Chilufya Sata, they are also analyzing the changes the disabled community has faced since the late presidents’ demise.
He says there are a lot of disabled people in Zambia who have the qualifications for more senior positions, but are not being considered for these positions because of their disabilities.
Mr. Mulenga adds that the late President Sata had put deliberate policies in place that benefitted people living with disabilities.
She says that it is therefore, saddening that since President Edgar Lungu was voted into office, no policies have been put in place to help people with disabilities.
He pointed out that even the loan scheme for people with disabilities that was started by the late president has not been taken up by the current government.
Mr. Mulenga complained that it is disappointing that the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions did not negotiate for allowances for people with disabilities who are working, and have challenges in moving from their homes to work places.