By Esther Kumwenda
MZUZU-(MaraviPost)-Cash strapped Mzuzu City Council has for over two years now, failed to raise a mere MK1 million bill owed to the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) so that the power provider reconnects the City’s sole traffic lights located at the Central Business District, it has been established.
City Boss Gomezani Nyasulu confirmed the development in an interview saying the Council is financially handicapped because residents and businesses owes it billions of Kwachas in unpaid rates.
“Traffic lights are not our priority despite the fact that we have meagre financial resources. Mzuzu residents require more service deliveries than mere Traffic Lights,” Nyasulu said.
The non-functional robots have become an accident hot spot since motorists and Kabaza Operators compete for right of way in the absence of proper guidance.
Road users pleas to have the sole Traffic Lights to be operational have fallen on deaf ears as the City Council and its Councillors are famous for being spendthrifts – guzzling meagre resources on allowances and their own welfare.
With lots of litigations, hovering on the Council, Sheriffs are continuously impounding most of its essential vehicles and these are never redeemed and end up being auctioned to recover costs.
Ironically, in December 2021, the embattled City Council asked government for a K2 billion bailout claiming it would want to settle arrears it owes suppliers of goods and services.
Reacting to the call for a bailout, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda told local media that government is concentrating in assisting the country’s health establishment since the country is experiencing the forth-wave of Covid-19.
The Council further claimed that debts continue to paralyze its operations as Sheriffs have impounded its vehicles, including the only skip carrier.
Local Government Finance Committee (LGFC) spokesperson Hamilton Chimala said they are continuously engaging councils to improve local revenue mobilisation strategies to increase their finances and not rely on government.