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Ministry challenges councillors on loans

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Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Kondwani Nankhumwa and his Principal Secretary Stuart Ligomeka on Tuesday challenged ward councillors to go a step further in their responsibilities as government has finally made their motorcycle loans available.

The two government officials made their remarks in Lilongwe during the launch of the motorcycle loans scheme which was presided over by Nankhumwa.

Nankhumwa, who took charge of the Local Government Ministry in October last year, said he would ensure that the councillors should get the promised loans as soon as possible.

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He reminded the local government elected officials that the loans they are getting are not gifts such that the councillors would be required to pay back within a specific period.

“Beneficiaries of this loan scheme will pay back the loans through deductions at source. In this regard, the scheme is a revolving fund which will benefit even the next cohort of councillors in 2019 and beyond.

“In view of this, I urge all councillors to make up their minds and access the loan if you really need it… Although government has now addressed the issue of mobility for councillors, I am aware that challenges rocking the Local Government System are numerous,” said Nankhumwa.

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He added that government is taking keen interest to address all the challenges so that local government should take centre stage in local governance and development.

According to the National Local Government Finance Committee, the K1 million loan will be repaid in 33 months with an interest of 10 percent.

President of the Malawi Local Government Association (Malga) Samson Chaziya said it was refreshing that after a battle of about two years, government has finally provided the loans for the councillors.

“It is sweet victory for us and we thank government, especially the President, for fulfilling the promise. The loans will ease our work especially when it comes to mobility,” said Chaziya.

Cabinet approved the provision of loans to councillors in 2014 in line with their conditions of service.

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