Blantyre City Council courts economic experts

Amid an outcry of lack of financial prudence, nepotism, and inefficiency by Blantyre City Council (BCC), management has swallowed its pride and invited the city’s citizenry to scrutinize its budget skeletons before it formulates the council’s 2012/13 financial year budget.

The council invited a number of city residents on Wednesday morning to hear their views for possible inclusion in their final budget.

BCC Director of Administrative Services Alfred Chanza said the pre-budget session was important as it will give a chance to the city residents who he described as “city owners” to bring steak in the Council’s 2012/13 budget.

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“We have called upon the stakeholders to ensure that the budgeting is participatory and the city is taken back to the people,” said Chanza who has been at the centre of controversies facing the council.

Covering an area of 220 square kilometers, Blantyre City Council has a population of over 700,000, and is managed in accordance with the Local Government Act of 1998.

With a vision of being a city of choice with conducive environment where people shall take ownership, live and do business, the council has seven departments which include Administration (main dept), Engineering, Health and Social, Finance, Town Planning & Estates, Leisure, Culture and Environment and the newly introduced Commerce & Industry.

Chanza was optimistic that the involvement of the city gurus in their budgeting process will yield big results that will augur well with their mission statement.

He said: “Our mission statement is to provide environmentally friendly, high quality, efficient and effective demand driven municipal services in partnership with the individual and corporate

residents to attain better quality, lives for all residents in the city’ and it is against this background that we would want to involve the people in this session’s mission statement.”

The meeting took place at the Civic Centre’s main committee room and representatives included the business community, the banking and financial sector, academicians, private and public sector, construction industry, members of the press, informal sector, civil society groups and faith groups.

Over 100 delegates which included legislators for Blantyre City South East, Blantyre City South and Blantyre City West, Jeffrey Mtelemuka, Moses Kunkuyu and and Thom Gowelo respectively attended the meeting which was the first of its kind to be conducted by the council.

The Ministry of Finance has over the last few years been also conducting pre-budget consultations with members of the public prior to the formulation of the national budget.

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