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.
The Chipata Magistrates’ Court yesterday entered a nolle prosequi in respect of two of the nine wildlife officers from Mambwe district who are charged with the murder of a suspect at Chinzombo wildlife detention cells last month.
And defence lawyer Mwangala Zaloumis from Dove Chambers Legal Practitioners has called for thorough investigation into the same matter.
This is the matter where Mataa Wamundila, Paul Zakaria Phiri, John Simon Banda, Benson Kanyembo, Kamona Sibulwa, Eunice Mbewe, Mike Mwale, Fred Kankyombo and Thomas Muyangwe are alleged to have murdered Jacob Mbewe.
When the case came up for mention, magistrate Pauline Mulenga released Kanyembo and Eunice Mbewe through a nolle prosequi.
But Ms. Zaloumis said it was unfortunate that the accused person had been in prison for a long time without being charged.
She said police should have done thorough investigations before subjecting the accused to stay in prison.
Magistrate Mulenga urged the state to expedite the investigation and address other concerns raised by the defence.
She later adjourned the matter to November 9, 2017 for another mention whilst waiting for instructions from the Director of Public Prosecution.
Mr. Mbewe’s death was received with mixed feelings by the local people in Mambwe prompting Senior Chief Nsefu to deny the wildlife authorities and law enforcement officers from burying his body in the district.
The deceased was however buried in Chipata.
The Ministry of Defense in Partnership with the Minsk Tractor Works Company of Belarus will be setting up an assembly plant for Belarusian tractors in Chipata.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Eastern Province Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defense Steady Mwale says his ministry is trying to answer to the president’s vision of the armed force being proactive economically.
He says Eastern Province was chosen because it is a hub of agriculture activities and the assembly plant will help a lot of small scale farmers graduating from using hoes to using tractors.
Mr. Mwale says since the tractors will be assembled in the province, they will be cheaper than those that are imported from other countries.
He emphasized that project should not be politicized and is not meant for any one person, but for the development of the country as a whole.
And speaking during the same occasion, Permanent Secretary Chanda Kasolo says Eastern deserves to be chosen for the tractor assembly plant as the province has the highest number of farmers, which will assist to grow the agriculture sector.
Mr. Kasolo further indicated that Chipata is perfectly placed and will make it easy to supply tractors within Zambia and neighbouring countries like Malawi and Mozambique.
Chipata City Council says it is closely monitoring works being carried out by Sable Construction Company on Kalindawlo road.
Town Clerk Davies Musenge has told Breeze News that the local authority wants to ensure that the works are of quality standard.
Mr. Musenge says that the council has already noticed that Sable seems to have improved in the way the tarring works are being carried out.
He however, says that the council is not happy with the pace at which the works are being done.
Mr. Musenge says that the contractor needs to quicken up the pace considering that the rain season is near.
He says that he is aware that the company will be forced to suspend the works during the rainy season, which might affect the period under which the project will be undertaken.
Mr. Musenge says that it will be important for Sable Construction Company to ensure that more works are done before the rains start.
Sable Construction Company is currently working on Kalindawalo road and East Rise road but the pace at which the contractor is working has raised concern among some residents.
All farmers who will access government subsidized farming inputs under the 2017/2018 farming season are expected to make payments of 100 kwacha for insurance.
Provincial Agriculture Coordinator PACO, Roy Lumamba says this is to ensure farmers are covered for any loss incurred during their farming activities.
He says farmers have for many years incurred losses due to natural disasters such as drought, flooding and army worms.
The PACO says is it important for farmers to insure their crops in order to mitigate challenges they face.
Mr. Lumamba says the Ministry of Agriculture will be advised in due course, on the insurance company engaged for the program.
He says this means that farmers will this year deposit 500 kwacha, stating that the 100 kwacha will be channeled to the insurance company while 400 kwacha will be loaded in their e-voucher cards.
Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry EPCCI has called on the government to consider putting up fuel reserves in Eastern province and other provinces that do not have fuel reserves, to prevent sudden change in fuel prices.
EPCCI President Thomas Mtonga says that putting up more fuel reserves will stop sudden fuel price increases as the country will have enough fuel in stock before effecting an increase.
He says that enough Reserves would also help the country have enough fuel whenever Indeni Oil Petroleum Refinery is undergoing maintenances.
Mr. Mtonga says the last increment was not expected and has therefore, led to an increase in costs for transporting goods, which is being passed on to consumers.
He further says that it is worrying that the fuel prices went up barely a month after the presentation of the national budget, which was silent on fuel costs going up.
Mr. Mtonga says this move by the government gives the impression that possibly going forward, many prices for major commodities will go up.
Some residents in Nabvutika Compound of Chipata district are spending nights outside, after their houses collapsed during the last rainy season.
One of the affected residents, Moses Soko says no help has been rendered to him and his family since the incident in February.
Mr. Soko says the area councilor Naphtali Banda promised him that renovations will be done within two weeks, but that nothing has been done up to now.
And Kapata ward councilor Naphtali Banda says he will soon engage DMMU, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit to help people whose houses collapsed after heavy rains experienced during last rainy season in Chipata.
The area councilor says he is aware of the situation, but that no help has been rendered from DMMU, since the incident occurred.
He however, says affected residents should be calm as he is doing everything possible to correct the situation.
The civic leader has also appealed to well-wishers to come on board and help those who need urgent attention.
As Zambians celebrate 53 years of independence from colonial rule, some Chipata residents have called for the need to make the occasion more memorable.
Speaking to Breeze News, a cross section of residents say that parents have an obligation to teach their children about the importance of Zambia’s independence.
Daniel Sakala says that it is important to teach children the history of how the freedom of Zambia was gained from British rule.
He says this will make Independence Day more meaningful than just celebrating the day by drinking alcohol and engaging in promiscuous activities.
And another resident, John Nyati says that it is important to celebrate independence because that is the day when Zambians started making their own decisions on issues of governance and policy formulation.
Mr. Nyati says Zambia has come a long way since it gained independence, and the changes that have come with freedom are evident everywhere in the country.
The 53rd Independence Anniversary is being celebrated under the theme: “Celebrating our freedom for continued peace, unity, patriotism and development”.