Financial constraints are one of the biggest challenges facing the Department of Physical Planning and Housing in Eastern Province.
Speaking during a radio programme dubbed Budget Tracking on Breeze FM this morning, Provincial Planner, Collins Mwaba says that this has resulted in operational challenges.
Mr. Mwaba explained that from a budgetary allocation of 327,000 Kwacha in 2014, the department only received 168,000 Kwacha while this year the department has only received 90,000 Kwacha from a budgetary allocation of 455,000 Kwacha.
He also revealed that the mushrooming of illegal settlements was a big challenge facing all districts in Eastern Province.
Mr. Mwaba says that the mushrooming of these illegal settlements has continued because his department is not consistent in monitoring the situation due to understaffing and financial challenges.
He also explained that there is poor implementation of lay out plans drawn by his department by some councils due to lack of qualified staff.
Mr. Mwaba further stated that some councils were quick in issuing plots in new settlements without providing municipal services like roads and water supply.
Meanwhile the department has so far raised between 90,000 to 100,000 Kwacha in scrutiny fees for site plans this year.
Meanhile the Department of Physical Planning and Housing says local area plans have the potential to create sustainable development.
Provincial Planner, Collins Mwaba however, says that most districts in Eastern Province do not have special development frameworks that are supposed to guide social economic development.
Mr. Mwaba notes that it is possible to create social economic development, environmental sustainability and jobs through well formulated local area plans.
He says that the key lies in ensuring that the Department of Physical Planning and Housing is well funded to properly produce local area plans.
And Mr. Mwaba says that his department is currently preparing an upgrading plan for Chibolya informal settlement in Katete district.
He says that the first activity of meeting key stakeholders has been done and that the department will next week go on the ground to conduct a social economic survey.