By MILDRED KATONGO –
GOVERNMENT has released K89 million of the 2018 December equalisation fund for all the local authorities’ countrywide, leading to workers calling off plans to go on strike or take industrial action.
Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) confirmed yesterday that local authorities had received the grant and that its members were no longer going ahead with the planned go-slow.
ZULAWU secretary general Emmanuel Mwinsa said the union had called off the planned go slow because Government had honoured its commitments to the workers.
Mr Mwinsa said the ministries of Local Government and Housing and Finance held a meeting with the union where it was agreed that Government release the equalisation fund for December last year.
He said in an interview that the ministry of Finance had further agreed to double the allocation of the next funding in order to dismantle the one-month salary arrears for council workers.
“The meeting also came up with a resolution in which ministries of Finance and Local Government jointly committed that funds shall always be processed in the first week of the month and that councils will be receiving the grants in the second week of every month,” he said.
Mr Mwinsa commended Government for the move, saying the grant was especially helpful to councils that depended almost solely on subvention from Government.
He appealed to councils to look at ways in which they could develop other lines of income to generate their own financial to avoid being over-dependent on government grants and being inconvenienced when the support was delayed.
Mr Mwinsa said the union would ensure that the austerity measures put in place by the Government were strictly adhered to by local authorities, especially in areas such as management avoiding expenses on unnecessary trips and workshops.
“We will be monitoring councils and ensure that the austerity measures in place are effected and scarce resource in the council are prudently utilised,” he said.