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Govt bans councils’ ‘costly’ workshops

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Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Government banned local authorities from holding workshops and conferences outside their jurisdiction with immediate effect.

The ban is meant to contain travel and accommodation related expenses gobbling thousands of dollars at the expense of service delivery.

In a circular titled: “Financial Prudence” forwarded to all local authorities, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said most local authorities were being extravagant on seminars while service delivery was deteriorating.

Minister Kasukuwere said no out of pocket allowances should be awarded for events held within council areas. “The 2016 Budget Cycle has revealed that almost all local authorities have unacceptable levels of creditors and that service delivery is not being given the full attention that it is due,” he said. “There appears to be a growing abuse of council funds to indirectly enrich councillors and staff.

“In order to protect public funds and instil a sense of propriety within the institution, I hereby direct, in terms of Section 313 of the Urban Council’s Act, that no council may undertake any “look and learn” visit, or any workshop or conference outside their area of jurisdiction without the written consent of the permanent secretary.”

Minister Kasukuwere’s directive comes after some councillors and officials were fingered in shady deals, prejudicing council and residents. Officials at City of Harare are accused of siphoning about $200 000 from Harare Municipality Medical Aid Society.

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