FAILURE by local authorities to submit reports on the fees collected from fire certificates and rescue service operations has angered local government minister Vincent Mwale.
And Fire Association of Zambia president Lawrence Tubi says most of the challenges that fire and rescue service officers face can be attributed to lack of legal framework to regulate provision of safety, rescue and fire services in the country.
Officiating at this year’s International Fire Fighters Day at DK Stadium in Chipata on Friday, Mwale complained that he directed local authorities to give him a report but he has never received any.
“I also direct all local authorities to plough back part of the fees collected from fire certificates to fire fighting and rescue service operations as it will assist in capacitating the fire officers in their duties. Now I have been saying this, maybe this is the third time and I don’t like making statements that mean nothing. Last time in Ndola, I actually said that I should be given a report of the councils that are failing to give a report on the monies that they make from the fire services, I never received that report! Director human resource, director Siame, I am going to give you an ultimatum to give me this report,” Mwale ordered.
He said there were a lot of councils that were collecting fees from people for fire inspections and other services.
“That money is not meant for anything else but to plough back to the same fire department. There are simple fire tools that are being displayed here, we lack such tools in our councils. Very simple that
they can even be bought not only by monies allocated by government but by yourselves as councils. You collect these fees and use them for other things and the councils remain suffering! I talked about this last time and next time I will not talk, I think that culprits must face the consequences,” Mwale said.
He also said 20 districts had been declared as fire authorities, bringing the number to 60.
Mwale said his ministry was working towards setting up modern fire training schools in Kabwe as well as constructing 11 fire stations in various districts across the country.
And Tubi thanked the government for undertaking a conducive process with all stakeholders in the formulation of a national fire and rescue
He said he was optimistic that the policy would, among other things, establish safety and fire units as independent departments.
Tubi urged Mwale’s office to recommend to government to make May 4 every year as a public holiday.
Tubi further complained that the National Airports Corporation had shunned the commemoration despite being invited