EPCCI says fruit and vegetable ban is retrogresive

The Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry EPCCI has commended government’s decision not to ban the importation of fruits and vegetables.

EPCCI President Thomas Mtonga says that any decision to ban the importation of fruits and vegetables would have a negative effect on the business sector.

Mr. Mtonga told Breeze Business News, that there are traders who sell fruits that cannot be locally produced in the country on a large scale like apples.

He further says that those dealing in the hospitality business like hotels and lodges have particular meals that require certain types of vegetables and fruits, which are not locally grown.

Mr. Mtonga further points out that horticulture industry in Eastern Province has not fully grown where it can produce specific types of products that meet international standards.

He says that until at a time when the country will have farmers that can produce all vegetables and fruits that have high demand, any ban would be retrogressive.

Government clears 2016 water bill

Government has cleared its 140,000 Kwacha 2016 outstanding debt to Eastern Water and Sewerage Company.

Company Managing Director, Lytone Kanowa, confirmed this to journalists during a press briefing in Chipata this morning.

Mr. Kanowa however, says that government still has an outstanding debt of 4.08 million Kwacha.

He says that in comparison to other customers, government has managed to pay 100 percent of what it owed the company in 2016

And Mr. Kanowa says the amount of money owed to the utility company by other customers has increased.

He explained that the amount went up to 4.5 in 2016 from 4.2 million kwacha.

However, Mr. Kanowa mentioned that despite these challenges, the utility company has continued working hard to supply water to its customers.

Chipata City Council fails to collect K5 million in property rates

A latest report of the auditor general has revealed that the Chipata City Council failed to collect over 5 million Kwacha from property rates.

This is amount, which is owed to the council by 2,862 customers.

The report shows that as of December 2016, the rates had not been collected and that the failure to collect rates when due, had a negative impact on the cash flow of the Council.

The report reveals operations of various councils in the country in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

The report also says contrary to Section 52 of the Local Government Act, the Council did not have audited financial statements for the period under review.

It also shows that during the period under review, the local authority operated without a strategic plan.

On financial Misapplication of Funds, the auditor general’s report reveals that during the period under review, amounts totaling over 820,000 Kwacha meant for the payment of retirees benefits and 650,000 Kwacha meant for the revaluation of the council assets, were spent on unrelated activities, such as purchase of fuel, payment of salaries, statutory contributions and union dues  among others.

The report further shows that as of December 2016, the council owed amounts totaling 8 million Kwacha to various employees and retirees in respect of settling in allowances, long service bonus and retirement benefits.

It also shows that out of an approved establishment of three hundred and sixty four positions, only two hundred and three were filled, leaving a balance of one hundred and sixty one vacancies.

The report which also looks at other councils, recommends that all local authorities should prepare financial statements, which should be audited within two years.

It also advised that all the councils should develop strategic plans to clearly provide a strategic framework on how the local authorities intend to achieve their goals and vision.

Four men sentenced 15 years imprisonment for aggravated robbery.

The Chipata High Court has sentenced four men to fifteen years imprisonment with hard labour for aggravated robbery contrary to the laws of Zambia.

In the first case, High court Judge Mwinde Siavwapa sentenced Chimozi Jere and Nevers Tembo of Petauke district to fifteen years imprisonment each with hard labour for two counts of aggravated robbery.

In the first count, facts before the court are that on May 25, 2015, Jere and Tembo whilst acting together with other persons unknown, armed with a gun, machetes and iron bars stole 900 Kwacha cash belonging to Margaret Phiri and two Bonanza machines valued at 13, 900 Kwacha, property of Robert Banda.

In the second count, Jere and Tembo on May 25th, 2015 whilst acting together broke into Top 20 Bar and Satellite Bar in Petauke district and attacked a security guard at Zambeef.

In mitigation, Senior Legal Aid counsel, John Phiri said the suspects were first offenders, who are remorseful for having committed the offense and are young people that can easily be rehabilitated.

In passing judgement, Justice Siavwapa said he considered the mitigation but the offense committed by the duo was a serious one.

He sentenced them to Fifteen years imprisonment with hard labour, for each count to run concurrently with effect from the date of their arrest on May 25th, 2015.

Meanwhile in another case, Justice Siavwapa sentenced Brian Mfune and Robert Tembo of Chipata to fifteen years imprisonment with hard labour each for aggravated robbery, contrary to the laws of Zambia.

Facts of the matter are that on April 15th, 2016, Tembo and Mfune whilst acting together attacked Elifas Daka and robbed him of a cell phone, one pair of shoes and a belt in M’chini area.

In mitigation, Senior Legal Aid counsel, John Phiri asked the court to exercise lenience on the duo as they were first offenders and young men who can easily be rehabilitated as they were sorry for having committed the offense.

In passing Judgement, Justice Siavwapa said he considered the mitigation but the crime committed was a serious one especially that they took advantage of Daka’s drunkenness to rob him.

He sentenced them to Fifteen years imprisonment each with hard labour to deter would be offenders.

Chipata City Council introduces a 50 kwacha cyclist annual levy.

Chipata City Council has introduced a 50 kwacha cyclist annual levy which was abolished 11 years ago.

This came to light during a meeting held in Chipata between Eastern Province Cyclists Association and Chipata City Council yesterday.

Speaking at the same meeting Chipata City Council Director of Housing and Social Services Judith Maambo told the gathering that the levy will now guarantee cyclists usage of roads legally.

Ms. Maambo says cyclists will be given licenses to legalize the carrying of customers and tags indicating that they have been licensed to operate.

Ms. Maambo says for the local authority to deliver quality services, all sectors, which include road users and traders, need to contribute levy which will go towards the provision of sanitation, health and safety to the people.

Meanwhile President of Eastern Province Cyclists Association Kenneth Simango told Breeze News in an interview that councils should provide shelters and sanitation at places where cyclists will be operating from.

Mr. Simango says that it will be unfortunate if councils will fail to deliver the needed services to cyclists especially extension of cycle trucks in areas where there is none.

RDA says dual carriageway plans in Chipata not abandoned

The Road Development Agency, RDA says it plans to put up a dual carriageway on Umodzi Highway in Chipata in the near future.

RDA Regional Engineer, Thomas Zimba says RDA may construct a dual carriageway on Umodzi highway when funds are available.

Mr Zimba however, says the construction of a dual carriage way will depend on how heavy traffic will be in the new city of Chipata.

Mr Zimba explained that currently, traffic in Chipata Town is normal at 1000 Vehicles per day.

He says that space is available to expand Umodzi Highway.

And Mr Zimba appealed to motorists to avoid pave stones on Umodzi Highway.

He says most curb stones have been vandalised by motorists but will be repaired.

Mr Zimba says curb stones were put there to provide safety to road users.

 

Lack of classrooms at Kasenga Day Secondary affects leaners

Authorities at Kasenga Day Secondary School are being forced to cut on the number of pupils selected into secondary classes.

This is due to the limited number of classrooms at the school.

The challenges of shortage of classrooms to carter for secondary classes came to light when Chipangali Member of Parliament, Vincent Mwale, visited the school.

Head teacher, Esau Zimba, explained that the school is expected to carter for most primary schools in the area, but fails because it does not have enough classroom blocks.

Mr. Zimba asked Mr. Mwale, who is also Minister of Local Government and Housing, to find ways of helping the school so that the number of classrooms is increased.

And Mr. Mwale acknowledged that the school needs to be helped with more classrooms in order to increase the number of pupils selected to secondary classes.

He explained that once the CDF, Constituency Development Fund for Chipangali constituency is out, he will see how Kasenga Day Secondary School can be helped.

Trouble in markets in Chipata continues

Traders in the markets have reiterated their appeal to Chipata City Council to immediately constitute market committees to instil discipline in the markets.

Some traders told Breeze News that markets have been invaded by unruly boys who are grabbing money and other items from customers inside the markets.

They said that from the time the market committees were dissolved, the traders have been experiencing lawlessness in the markets.

But Council spokesperson Tawonga Kaonga says traders have been notified that whenever there is a dispute in the market, they should go to the Director Housing and Social Services to report.

Ms Kaonga says any incident that happens in the market should be reported so that the council can handle it.

Meanwhile Chipata Mayor Sinoya Mwale has committed undisclosed amount of his personal money to buy electrical pipes for Saturday market shelters.

Mr Mwale says that after a visit to the trading area this morning, he found that traders were trading in dirty area full of mud with no lights.

Plans for a 300 megawatts power plant in Chipata advance

Plans to put up a 300 megawatts power plant in Chipata by a South African company have advanced.

Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo has confirmed to Breeze News.

Mr. Kasolo says that a site for the power plant has already been identified along Mwami border road just after the railway line crossing.

He says that a number of meetings with the investors and Chipata District Commissioner, Kalunga Zulu have been taking place almost every week.

Mr. Kasolo says that an MoU, Memorandum of Understanding has been drafted and is expected to be signed by government for the process to start.

He further says that ZEMA, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency has also been engaged to look at environmental issues before setting up the plant.

And Mr. Kasolo pointed out that the power plant will bring a lot of benefits to Chipata and the country as a whole when it starts operating.

He says that he has currently been advised to withhold the name of the investor until all procedures have been concluded.

Traditional leaders told to look out for political trouble

Traditional leaders have been asked to be on the lookout, because of the current political situation in the country.

Chipangali Member of Parliament, Vincent Mwale, says the political situation in towns can easily spill over to villages, adding that chiefs and other traditional leaders such as indunas have a role to play in ensuring that peace and unity is maintained in their areas.

He explained that some political leaders are deliberately misinterpreting the matter relating to the presidential appeal currently in court and putting people in continuous political mood.

Mr. Mwale, who is also Minister of Local Government and Housing, said this when he paid a courtesy call on Chief Chanje of the Chewa people.

He also asked traditional leaders in Chipangali area, to help in dealing with the illegal exportation of agricultural produce.

Mr. Mwale said due to tight security, illegal exporters and importers of goods are now using rural areas where the border is porous.

And Chief Chanje said that villages are generally calm, but that his indunas are always ready to check any eventualities.

He said that it is important for political leaders to respect the law, adding that currently Edgar Lungu is the president and must be respected.

 

The traditional leader also said that through the traditional system, security will be tightened to prevent illegal exportation of agricultural products, especially burley tobacco, which he said is being taken to Malawi.