Interesting to see the recent Parliamentary Committee Report on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs' Affairs pick up the theme we have been discussing here for a while - the curse of broke institutions (reform is meaningless without sufficient funding) :
Dr Kalumba [Committe Chair]: Sir, your Committee attach enormous importance to local authorities as a cornerstone of the country’s democratic system of governance and delivery of service as well as other public goods. Allow me, therefore, to comment briefly on the Decentralisation Policy. Your Committee are disappointed that despite the decentralisation policy being an initiative of the Government, there has not been enough political will to implement it. Your Committee are of the view that if the Government has difficulties implementing the Decentralisation Policy, they should provide another policy direction instead of leaving the local government system in its current state.
Sir, your Committee are alive to the fact that the decentralisation process, in seeking to democratise and transfer powers, often threatens many actors who are reluctant to implement it. They request the Government to provide leadership on the matter and come up with a clear stand on the way forward.
Mr Speaker, may I also say something about the importance of employing quality staff in local authorities. It is the belief of your Committee that without dedicated professional staff that also have a sense of vision, local authorities cannot achieve anything. They, however, note that local authorities in Zambia lack adequate resources for them to recruit and retain qualified staff in order to deliver decent services to the people. They note, therefore, that the proposed establishment of the Local Government Service Commission, though welcome, will not have any meaningful impact on the performance of the councils in the absence of adequate resources to attract and retain qualified staff.
Your Committee, therefore, urge the Government to take a holistic approach to challenges facing councils by implementing the Decentralisation Policy which, in their view, will increase resources available for development and service delivery at local government level. It is only when this happens that qualified staff will be
attracted to work for councils.