ZCC lauds roles of civil society in development

Principal Investment and Promotion Officer for Zomba City Council (ZCC), Maurice Tsoka Banda has applauded the role of civil society organizations in championing development at city council level.

Banda made the remarks recently during a review meeting between Zomba City Council and Bwalo Initiative, a local civil society organization in Zomba which is implementing 18 Months strengthening governance project with support from Tilitonse Foundation.

He said Bwalo Initiative has played a big role in the development of the council’s revenue enhancement plan considered a strategic document that provides a road map for the next five years whereby the council should take in terms of revenue collection.

“This document will help ZCC on a year-to-year basis to focus on key areas with regards to improving revenue base. This being a public document it belongs to the people of Zomba City to take stock of the steps the council is taking,” Banda said.

Tilitonse Foundation Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist during an interactive session with ZCC officials. Pic Arnold Namanja (Mana) (3)

He added that the revenue enhancement plan would also serve as a monitoring and evaluation framework to guide the council in terms of its mandate to provide municipal services to the residents of the city in areas of road maintenance, waste collection, and fire services.

“Considering that 70 percent of ZCC’s revenue is generated from locally collected revenue, there is no way we can forge ahead operationally and administratively without having adequate resources. So, the revenue enhancement plan will guide the council in a number of aspects,” he said.

ZCC Director of Health and Social Services, Busta Chiona said the partnership with Bwalo Initiative has also enabled the council to achieve a number of milestones since the council brought all sectors on board in the implementation of the project, citing the development of a service charter as one of the biggest achievements.

“The service charter which is just awaiting its launch will go a long way in improving service delivery to the residents; it will also enhance citizen participation in various activities happening at the council.

Director of Health and Social Services for ZCC, Busta Chiona (center) emphasizes a point during the tripartite review meeting. Pic Arnold Namanja (Mana) (1)

“The charter outlines the mandate of the council which is to provide services while citizens have a responsibility to support the council by being responsive through paying taxes, ground rent and other fees demanded from time to time,” Chiona said.

Chiona said the council would continue to engage residents of the city through awareness campaigns on their roles and responsibilities to continue supporting ZCC in its efforts of improving service delivery.

He, therefore, expressed gratitude to Tilitonse Foundation through Bwalo Initiative for the support to the council, saying the council is now empowered to deliver quality services in line with the decentralization program which calls for a transparent and accountable manner in its operations.    

Bwalo Initiative Director of Programmes Manager, Harry Phiri said the urban governance project had four pillars development of a service charter, revenue enhancement plan, capacity building of ward committees, and city market committees.  

“Over the period we have been implementing the project, we’ve seen a number of outputs achieved such as the strengthened relationship between the council and citizenry in Zomba and local revenue generation,” Phiri said.

“We’ve also noted an increase in access to information from ZCC to its residents; thereby, ensuring accountability. Ward development committees have been trained to advocate for issues which affect them to demand entitlements from the city,” he added.

Bwalo Initiative with funding from the European Union and Royal Norwegian Embassy through Tilitonse Foundation managed grants has been implementing enhancing urban governance, active citizenship, and unlocking revenue generation and capacity building projects in Zomba City to the tune of 100,000 Euros (an equivalent of K85, 000, 000).