Increase local government funds, Ndugai urges gvt

SPEAKER of the National Assembly, Job Ndugai, has joined Members of Parliament here to press the government to allocate more funds for operation costs and payment of allowances to local councillors in local government authorities.

“It is true that many authorities across the country have few sources of generating revenue to cater for running costs and paying allowances to the councillors. It is high time the central government dished more money to the authorities.

“Out of the little internal revenue they collect, the local councils are obliged to set aside funds for development projects and other running costs. Something should be done to avail them with more funds,” Mr Ndugai, who is also the MP for Kongwa, emphasised.

The Speaker made the call shortly after Deputy Minister in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Governments), Mr Mwita Waitara, stressed that it is the responsibility of the local councils to fork out the allowances for councillors.

Mr Waitara explained that the Local Government Authorities Act empowers the responsible minister to set allowances for local councillors, including sitting stipends which has been pegged at 40,000/- per session.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister ruled out payment of compensation to cashew nut producing local councils which mainly depend on the cash crops as source of internal revenues.

The councils in question did not get revenues from the crop this year after the central government intervened in purchasing the crop through the Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank (TADB) following shilly-shallying by traders who were offering meager prices.

Ndanda MP, Mr Cecil Mwambe (CHADEMA), and Kigoma Urban MP, Mr Zitto Kabwe (ACT-Wazalendo), had claimed that some of the councils in the cashew nut producing areas are now collecting six per cent of targeted revenues and tasked the government to compensate them.

The Deputy Minister advised authorities in the affected local councils to brace for the transition period and make preparations to ensure better prices for farmers during the next harvest season.

Author: KATARE MBASHIRU in Dodoma

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