payment of these monies is done through the Zambia National Commercial Bank and INVESTRUST Bank. There are no serious conditions attached to central government transfers to LCC and other local authorities. However, councils are expected to make returns to central government in terms of how they used funds during the previous financial period, if they are to receive funds for the coming period. This is partly done through the preparation of Performance Reports, in which the local authorities are required to account for the grants received in the previous period. Furthermore, the local authorities are expected generally to spend their money appropriately, that is, in accordance with the type of grant given.
81 The major legal framework governing central government transfers to local authorities, including LCC, is the Local Government Act of 1991, specifically Section 45 (1), which stipulates that, “The Minister, may on such terms and conditions as he may determine, make constituency development grants or loans of money to a council for the purposes of the discharge by the council of any of its functions.” Additionally, sub-section 3 stipulates that the government shall make specific grants to the council concerned for (a) water and sanitation; (b) health services; (c) fire services; (d) road services; (e) police services; (f) primary education; and agriculture services. It is worth noting that the legal framework governing central government transfers in Zambia is weak, for example, the minister in charge of local government is not mandated to transfer such funds as showed by Section 45 (1) of the Act through stating that the minister ‘may’…. and as ‘he determines’. In other words, the minister is not obliged to do so. This legislative weakness impacts negatively on council operations in various ways. Not only does it reinforce central government control by narrowing an important process (intergovernmental transfer) to a “one man show” (the Minister), but also affects local authorities in terms of financial planning because it renders intergovernmental transfers unpredictable and unreliable. Additionally, a council may not be funded if the minister is not in good terms with it, for example, on grounds of partisanship, tribalism, regionalism etcetera ultimately financially incapacitating the local authority and the Minister may error in his/her quest to determine whether or not a particular local authority deserves such grants or loans. The implication of this misjudgment would be failure by the council to deliver adequate services to the local people due to the subsequent weak financial muscle. If fiscal decentralization and service delivery are to be fully augmented in the Zambian local government system, there is need for central government to put in place a piece of legislation which will be succinct about how much, when and how local authorities will receive central government grants.
82 The main central government institution concerned with central government
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