LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi’s high level of corruption and rapid population growth, are said to be contributing factors for the poor City Council delivery of quality services to city dwellers.
The development has led to increased levels of abject poverty for peri-urban settlers, whose livelihood is visibly pathetic.
In a study Action Aid Malawi released on Tuesday, titled, “Lilongwe urban governance readiness, capacity and anti-poverty strategies”, exposes an overview on how the LCC is handling revenue, engaging citizens and policy formulation towards social service delivery.
The study reveals that city dwellers are not satisfied with the delivery of services they get from the City Council; this is despite city revenue collection.
Some of the poor services residents said they are not happy with, include poor road networks, electricity and water, uncollected refuse among others.
According to the report, revenue collected is not used for the intended purposes, but rather ends up in City Council officials’ pockets, which is compounded with fake deals and corruption. Corruption is rampant when city dwellers want to get quality services.
Action Aid highlights that LCC collects MK75 million against MK225 million per month, which Blantyre collects and is surpassing despite Lilongwe being a larger city.
The study further reveals that rapid population growth due to migration by job, business seekers exerts pressure on minute resources for city settlers.
The report adds that 23 percent of city’s migrants come in largely unprepared and they are later subjected to lack of accommodation, food among others.
The study therefore, recommends that the LCC institutionalize assessment of services among the urban poor and engagement of service it providers.
“There is a need to improve information provision on entitlements and services standards, which is the basic for enforcing accountability.
“The council should improve on engagement between the urban poor and the media and non state actors by highlighting key issues affecting the poor on a sustained basis,” recommends the report.
In an interview with The Maravi Post after presenting the report, Action Aid Malawi Women’s Rights Manager, Chikumbutso Ngosi Ndaferankhande, said the study was an eye-opener for the council’s authority to work on better modalities for better social service delivery.
Ndaferankhande observed that it was surprising to learn that the council is failing to make use of the population boom in business for revenue collection, which could improve the city’s outlook.
She therefore urged the city authority to urgently set up a service committee for engagement between the urban poor and duty bearers responsible for social services.
“The city council needs to continually engage the public and business community on the issue of debt so that a win-win situation can be attained and unlock the revenue locked up in property arrears”, urges Ndaferankhande.
In reacting to the study, Lilongwe City Council Deputy Mayor Juliana Kaduya, conceded to the findings. She said her office is working hard to maximize revenue collection .
Kaduya disclosed that the City Council intends to send all revenue collection officers to a three-month leave and hire the new team in order to spot the difference.
The deputy mayor observed that there is potential for more revenue collection in the city that would increase service delivery.
“For instance during a campaign on revenue collection of three weeks in December 2016, we managed to collect MK70 million, which means that by the end of the month, city can have about MK300 million,” said Kaduya.
Malawi is one of the least urbanized countries in the world, with only 16.3% of the population dwelling in its cities. Malawi was in 2015 ranked 31 in the world with an annual urbanization rate of 3.77.