In an effort of fulfilling its motto of ‘Taking the city back to the people’ the Blantyre City Council (BCC), an oldest urban centre in Malawi and Southern Africa, is coaxing the people it serves to participate in its preparations for the forthcoming budget. The council is in the process of formulating its 2013/2014 budget financial year and accordingly it would want the budgeting to be participatory hence the open and wide consultations.
“To ensure that the budgeting is participatory and the City is taken back to the people, the Council has scheduled pre-budget sessions and to take part in developing your city, come and contribute in the discussions,” the council rings the bell in a press release.
To be held at the Civic Centre Council Chamber, the sessions have been divided into two; the first for traditional leaders and members of parliament in the city while the other, groups all BCC stakeholders.
Malawi’s financial year runs from July to June, and the request by the council that its citizenry scrutinize its budget skeletons before getting into the formulation stages, has been hailed by many, as asserted by one Professor Rashid Maganga: “Nothing can be better than this. It is good that we are acquainted beforehand and our inputs would surely be useful. It will also help us review better come next year.”
Adding: “After all some of the core values that they claim to embrace are local participation, team work accountability and transparency.”
Other BCC core values are trust, honesty and integrity, zero tolerance to corruption, professionalism, non-discrimination and courtesy.
Maganga, a social and political commentator, however cautioned that it would be meaningless if the council chose to completely ignore the views by the citizenry, saying: “Although they have a liberty to choose what to pick, it will be suicide to spike everything contributed by the people it has asked to assist in adding stake to the budget, otherwise the initiative is very good and it speaks of professional management is.”
Information also sourced by newstimeafrica reveal that Blantyre City Council covers an approximate area of 220 square kilometres, and is situated in the Shire Highlands in the Southern Region of Malawi, on the edge of the Africa Rift Valley.
Activities in the City blossom during day such that the population booms up to over a million, whereas at night it is estimated that Blantyre City holds 700,000 people or thereon.
Blantyre City is managed in accordance with the Local Government Act of 1998 which mandates elected representatives of various City wards and other ex-official members and non-voting members, headed by the Mayor, to manage the City.
The Secretariat is however headed by the Chief Executive Officer, the current one being Mr. Ted Emmanuel Nandolo.
With a vision of being ‘A City of choice in the SADC region with conducive environment where people shall take ownership, live and do business, and prosper’, the council has eight departments.
The departments are Administration, Leisure, Culture & Environmental, Engineering, Health & Social, Financial, Town Planning & Estates Management, Commercial and Education services.
An aspiring member of parliament in the Blantyre City South constituency noted that the involvement of other stakeholders in the budgeting process has the potential of improving the City especially the road network which he said is in a mess in his constituency.
“But look at the mission statement of the Blantyre City Council, it is so appetising and if the management and staff uphold the values that are meant to guide them then we will have a City that will really be good to live in,” observed the shadow MP.
BCC Mission statement reads;’ To provide environmentally friendly, high quality, efficient and effective demand driven municipal services in partnership with the individual and corporate residents in the City’.
Malawi’s Ministry of Finance has over the past years been conducting pre-budget consultations with members of the public, business community, and other stakeholders prior to the national budget parliamentary sessions.
Newstime Africa can also report that the name Blantyre derives from a Scottish town where Dr. David Livingstone was born, and that the City was founded in 1870 by Scottish Missionaries.
Blantyre City was merged with Limbe in 1956, having being incorporated in 1885 as the first Municipality in Central Africa, and declared a City on July 6 1966-Malawi’s Independence Day.
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