US $60000 for council digitization drive

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Sharon Chigeza

MUTARE-The City of Mutare has made significant progress in implementing and using Local
Authorities Digital System (LADS) in the finance and housing departments prompting the
adoption of a US$60 000 budget for the city’s digitisation drive in the year 2023.
According to an approved budget proposal for the year 2023, a total of US$60 000 or equivalent
has been budgeted for the digitalisation in the city as the local authority intends to support LADS
to be a full Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP.)
“Council is intending to support LADS to be a full ERP with all key modules. So far a number of
modules are being implemented courtesy of the European Union rendered financial support
channeled through CLGF. In its digitisation drive, council intends to install self-service machines
in and around the city for the payment of council services,” said Mutare City spokesperson Spren
Mutiwi.
Under LADS, the finance department is currently running the debt management, procurement
and budgeting modules. These modules have resulted in the city increasing revenue collection by
37 percent.
“The success of these modules has seen the city increasing its revenue collection from 35 percent
to nearly 72 percent. The increase in revenue has assisted in clearing all salary arrears, paying all
statutory obligations, and resuming service delivery projects, such as provision of water,” said
acting town clerk Blessing Chafesuka.
The housing department is also using the Waiting List, Lease Management, Cemetery and
Registry and Programme Based Budgeting modules as more modules are being developed and
tested to cover other functions of the housing department.
Mutare Informal Traders Association (MITA) chairperson Brilliant Mpofu applauded the local
authority for the adoption of the LADS system saying it eased the way of doing business by
eliminating the element of human error which was synonymous with the manual billing system.
“This system is a milestone in terms of development in the City of Mutare specifically to the
open air markets. Previously they had been using a manual billing system in the market places
which was cumbersome and was prone to human error. A number of traders would complain of
errors in the recording of the revenue collected from them and most of the time the city officials
had run ins with traders at their city offices. Offices were defined by long queues of people
trying to rectify such errors and this was an inconvenience to both city officials and the traders,”
said Mpofu.
He said the new system now made it easier to check balances and track records thus it was a
welcome development for market traders.

Local authorities, like many industries, are under pressure to digitally transform. The coming of
the Covid 19 pandemic has placed even more pressure on local government to hasten the process
of joining the 4th industrial revolution, through the use of technology, to ensure efficient service
delivery.
Prior to the current pandemic Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), in partnership
with the Harare Institute of Technology (HIT) and the Zimbabwe Ministry of Local Government,
initially rolled out the Local Authorities Digital System (LADS) to six local authorities.
CLGF availed US$27 000 while City of Mutare also availed US$40 500.
LADS includes an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System and an Integrated Financial
Management Information System that digitally connect local authorities for improved
procurement, project management, risk management, compliance, financial performance, control
expenditure, budgeting and financial reporting. To ensure successful implementation of the
project, an integrated approach has been adopted by providing local authorities with the
necessary capacity building, technical and financial support.
LADS is being rolled out to all local authorities in Zimbabwe as a response to the local
government ICT, operations and financial management.

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