Councillors call for total independence of district councils

Malawi24.com

Councillors have bemoaned low funding in District Councils, calling on Central Government to fully surrender powers to local Councils for meaningful development.

This comes amid concerns of low funding allocated to Councils, a situation which affects operations as well as effective implementation of development projects.

In 1998, Government introduced Decentralization Programme in which Local Councils were empowered to identify and implement their projects.

But 20 years down the line, Councils still submit their budgets to Central Government for scrutiny, which in turn see reductions on some allocations.

In an interview, Chairperson for Chiradzulu District Council, Alick Naphiyo, said the trend is affecting operations of Councils and implementation of development projects.

Naphiyo observed that every Council has its priorities, and it is only fair if they were given an opportunity to implement them fully.

“It is worrisome that we fail to make certain decisions independently, as the same is made or change at Central level. All we need is that power to choose things that are in our interest.

For instance, our budgets are usually revised downwards whenever we submit them to Government. This puts us in an awkward situation, as we are in dilemma in prioritizing projects among the priority list,” he said.

He added that local revenue collections are inadequate to cater for Councils’ operations.

The Chikowa Ward representative however, said the Council is still working on various projects despite facing inadequate funding.

On this note, he called on Government to consider his request, saying Councils can only be vibrant if they are fully independent.

Naphiyo then hailed local development structures: Area Development and Village Development Committees, for being vibrant and transparent in championing local development.

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