Cities fight EMA over billboard money

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The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) and local authorities are reportedly locked in a wrangle over a recently enacted law which empowers the agency to benefit from revenue generated by billboards.

This emerged at the Zimbabwe Local Government Association workshop held in Bulawayo recently where local authorities criticised the agency for seeking to reap where “it did not sow”.

Harare City Council chamber secretary Josephine Ncube said the current environmental law stipulated that those who erected billboards in the local authorities’ jurisdictions were now required to pay an environmental impact assessment fee to the agency in addition to what the companies erecting billboards paid to local authorities.

“As local authorities we are saying this is a ploy by EMA to benefit where it is not supposed to. The collection of revenue for billboards is the responsibility of local authorities,” said Ncube.

The government recently enacted the law directing companies planning to erect billboards to pay environmental fees or risk prosecution.