By Chali Mulenga-The parliamentary committee of estimates has been told that the Livingstone city council owes over K 8 billion to retrenches and retirees.
Livingstone city council, director of finance, John Lilema said the amount will increase to K 10 billion as more former workers had been awarded a judgment in their favor.
Lilema said if it was not for the payment of the retrenchment and retirement packages, the council would have been above board.
He said the council had a lot of challenges especially in the collection of revenue from plots that had been undeveloped as it was not easy for the owners of the plots to be indentified.
The director of finance added that the council had also found it difficult in collecting revenue from taxis and bus operators, he stressed that the council had to work with the Zambia Police and the Zambia Revenue Authority.
He said however that the city’s revenue had increased after the property evaluation rolls had been done.
He explained that the evaluation rolls had been updated from the previous rolls that had 4000 properties to 10 000.
Lilema said the properties in Livingstone were now valued at K1.5 trillion and that this was their biggest source of revenue.
And the chairman of the committee Batuke Imenda said that they want to see councils that were able to raise their own revenue and contribute to the national treasury.
He said there was need for councils to be less dependant on the on the national treasury.
He explained that government runs a deficit budget that was dependant on donors.
Clement Chisanga the director of city planning said the council is expecting a grant worthy K 1.8 billion form the government.
He wondered when the grant from the government would come and asked whether they was time frame for the awarding of the grants.
He said that the council was not able to collect enough money from the buses and taxis as they station was not enclosed.
He said that plans were underway to ensure that have a enclosed bus terminus.
And a member of the committee Highvie Hamududu, Bweengwa MP said the city of Livingstone is not attractive to be investors.
He said the buildings were almost falling apart due to lack of being given a face lift.
He challenged the council to come up with bye laws that would force shop owners to adhere to the laid down laws.
He said the stae of the city did not qaulifty it to the tourist capital of the country.
He advised them to work on basics things like lawns.
And Lombe mulenga, kwacha MP wondered why the council was failing to make money when the call boiys were making money.
Mulenga further disputed the valuation value of the properties in Livingstone at K1.5 trillion and said that only 3 or 4 buildings could be valued at that much.
The team then visited maramba market, main bus station in the city centre.