The Association of Local Authorities in Namibia‘s (ALAN) Chief Administrative Officer Mauren Kambala said there is no coordination and consultation between the organisation and the government.
This according to Kambala negatively impacts the promotion of an organised local government system.
ALAN was established before independence as a platform where local authorities could network and share expertise.
“We are not recognised as formal organised local government association. As a result when crucial matters pertaining to local authorities arise there is no consultation, it’s as though ALAN does not exist. Currently consultations is directly between the local authorities and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development,’’ she said.
With the changing role of local authorities Kambala said it became pertinent for ALAN to review its mandate aims and objectives to that of being the dynamic self- sustaining organisation that plays an advocacy role on behalf of the local authorities with the view to promote and assist its members to address socioeconomic challenges
“The past has shown us that local authorities could not contribute towards ALAN as they felt ALAN was not visible enough in matters that affected local authorities negatively. However the current management committee had taken bold steps in terms of spending and turned around the association towards focusing on service delivery towards the members in the areas of the capacity building amongst. Promotion of twining relations, and representation on various levels of government and through the pro – active reporting to its members have scored us positive points amongst our local authorities,’’ Kambala said.
She said although the organisation has proposed for a fast tracked overhaul of the whole system in order for the organisation to enhance effective and efficient service delivery in local authorities, the reform proposal which has been tabled to cabinet is still pending cabinet pronouncement for the past five years.
The issue contained in the reform are issues identified by local authorities on the legal provisions of the local authorities Act that hampers local authorities to carry out their mandate to the fullest.
ALAN is also advocating for the removal of the mandatory property taxes that local authorities are required to remit to the regional councils. The issue of pre-independence debt which are loans that local authorities were given by the previous administration which government wants the local authorities to pay back. ALAN further calls for the replacement of the current adhoc system of fiscal transfers to local authorities in favour of a more sustainable financing system.
This she says creates a lot confusion amongst members whereby in a formal recognised structure issues pertaining to local authorities would have been consulted through a uniformed voice.
“The recognition of ALAN will ease the burden of the Line Ministry by serving as a platform that can consult, advices and make recommendations to the Line Ministry for consideration and avoid the current situation where by the Ministry is the player and referee,’’ she adds.
The members have full support towards ALAN and from the look of the financial statements has built confidence in ALAN unlike in the past years when ALAN was operating in a deficit.