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Councillors petition APM over loans

Councillors in the country have petitioned President Peter Mutharika to intervene in the issue of their loans and lack of funding in councils.

At least 21 councillors led by Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) president Samson Chaziya went to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), where they delivered the petition.

In the two-point petition, the councillors are complaining that councils were not funded in the month of June and that they are facing hurdles in accessing loans for motorcycles.

“All devolved sectors have not been funded for the month of June, 2015 except health and Constituency Development Fund (CDC) in some selected councils. Again, since we were elected as councillors, we have noted that councils are struggling to provide basic services to citizens because of low funding,” reads the petition.

On loans it reads: “We, councillors are still facing the problem of mobility for us to discharge our duties effectively in our wards. As you are aware Sir, according to our conditions of service, we are supposed to be given motorcycle loans to enable us purchase motorcycles. However, one year after our election, we have not been provided with the loans,” it says.

According to the councillors, the issue remains outstanding despite several efforts made by Malga to engage the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, National Local Government Finance Committee and Treasury.

In the petition, the councillors have also asked government to expedite the provision of funds to local authorities so that their operations are not negatively affected.

They have also asked government to adequately and consistently fund local authorities in the new fiscal year which begins today.

“Your Excellency Sir, we have no doubt that this petition will receive the urgent attention it deserves because we trust that the government is a listening government. We, therefore, humbly entreat you to deal swiftly with the issues raised above. We hope you will be able to provide feedback to us within two weeks from the date of this petition,” reads the petition, dated 30 June 2015.

Chief Secretary George Mkondiwa received the petition on behalf of Mutharika.

He, however, told the councillors that it was not only the Ministry of Local Government that faced funding hurdles in June.

On loans, Mkondiwa expressed surprise as to how the councillors expected to get loans since they are not salaried.

But in an interview after delivering the petition, Chaziya defended their demand.

“In our conditions, we are told that we can get a loan of K1 million for motorcycles. It’s government which drafted the conditions and all we want is to get the loans,” he said.

Recently, it was revealed that the councillors are not getting the loans because they do not receive salaries.

They only receive honoraria and allowances when they meet.

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