By SYLVESTER MWALE -
CENTRAL Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Felix Mang’wato has assured that the Government will settle the more than K260,000 owed to implementing partners of the relief food distribution exercise in
Mr Mang’wato said yesterday the Government was aware of the debt owed to the partners, among them the Catholic Church and the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) who are owed K52,000 each.
Similarly, the two churches had been contracted in the ongoing food distribution exercise at K160,000 which started last week, but had been forced to use their own resources because the government has not paid them anything.
Speaking when he officially flagged off the distribution of 100 tonnes of relief food to affected families in the remote district Mr Mang’wato said the Government was thankful to the two churches and would ensure that the money was paid by this week.
“I would like to thank you, the project implementing partners, for responding quickly to ensure that even before the money could reflect on your respective accounts, you have come on board to partner with the Government,” he said.
He urged the two churches to continue working with the Government in responding to the needs of the people.
Mr Mang’wato emphasized that 80 percent of the relief maize should be food-for-work, where the communities should identify and work on projects before getting the food.
The other 20 percent is free ration which should be given to the most vulnerable like the aged, the disabled persons and child-headed households.
Mr Mang’wato said with the invasion of the red locusts in the area, the government would remain alert for possible hunger next year, which required another relief food.
Catholic Church representative Edina Malingapasi said the church had been allocated 1,000 bags of maize to be given out to three chiefdoms and half of it had already been distributed.
Ms Malingapasi bemoaned late payment from the Government, saying the situation had forced the congregation to overstretch itself in looking for resources to carry out the exercise.