Israeli corner land cheats

GOVERNMENT has spent US$ 1.8 million to procure a new computer system, which has a geographical information system (GIS) component to end dubious allocation of land and also facilitate effective land administration.

Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection permanent secretary Inutu Suba who confirmed this said the ministry decided to procure and install the new system to migrate from manual to the computerized land management system to improve efficiency in records management.

She said the installation of the Zambia Integrated Land Management and Information System (ZILMIS) at the ministry started last year.

“We have to migrate all our manual records to the new computer software. These are land records of all the files that are manual into computerized one. All transactions that relate to assignments, registration of the miscellaneous deeds, billing of ground rate will all now be electronically generated.

“The scope of works was to install electronic information system management to replace the manual one,” Ms Suba said.

The US$ 1.8 million also involves the training of staff in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environment Protection in the managing the ZILMIS.

She said the Government contracted an Israeli consultant Sivan Design D.S Ltd to install the new computer system at the Ministry of Lands and to train all workers at headquarters.

The permanent secretary said the new computer system would help address dubious allocation of land.

“The cost of the first contract to procure computer system was US$1,252,919 and later the consultant was awarded another contract of training at a cost of US$535,369.50 bringing the total of US$1,788, 288.50,” she said.

Mr Suba said there were some challenges during the migration period because some files were manual.

The permanent secretary said the failure by staff to use the new computer system resulted in long queues and inconvenienced the public.

Ms Suba said due to challenges in using the new system there was need to train workers on how to use it and that the consultant offered to train the staff in Israel.

She said the ministry however objected to the idea of training the workers in Israel and insisted that the training should be conducted in Zambia.

“Eventually, we agreed with the contractor that the training should be done here. So, our workers are being trained on the job,” Ms Suba said.

She said the training of staff in Lusaka started two months ago and would be concluded in October and thereafter rolled out to the provincial centres.

“One of the challenges we had was to training our staff and make sure that they are conversant with the new system,” she said.

Ms Suba said the new system would also curb theft of Government revenue by some ministry workers.

She said due to lapses in the old system, the ministry lost K1, 000 three months ago at the revenue collection centre.

Ms Suba said the ministry would also acquire a generator to ensure that business at the bank was not disrupted when there was a power blackout.

The permanent secretary also said the ministry had introduced special paper with security features on certificate of title to curb forgery of the documents.

On congestion in the revenue hall, Ms Suba said the ministry tasked the Investtrust Bank and the consultant to rectify the problem so that the public was not inconvenienced any further.

“So, we are trying to find out why there has been congestion at the bank. We have engaged the bank and they are discussing with them [the consultant] to see how we can resolve that issue and we should be getting the feedback soon,” she said.

Ms Suba said once the system was fully installed, it would enhance revenue collection at the ministry.