Provincial administration in Zambia is set up purely for administrative purposes. The province is headed by a minister appointed by the President and there are ministries of the central government for each province. The administrative head of the province is the Permanent Secretary, appointed by the President. There are a Deputy Permanent Secretary, heads of government departments and civil servants at the provincial level.
Eastern Province is divided into nine districts as follows: Chadiza District, Chipata District, Katete District, Lundazi District, Mambwe District, Nyimba District, Petauke District, Sinda District and Vubwi District. All the district headquarters are the same as the district names. There are nine councils in the province, each headed by an elected representative, called councillor. Each councillor holds the office for three years. The administrative staff of the council is selected based on Local Government Service Commission from within or outside the district. The office of the provincial government is located in each of the district headquarters and has provincial local government officers and auditors.
Each council is responsible for raising and collecting local taxes, and the budgets of the council are audited and submitted every year after the annual budget. The elected members of the council do not draw salaries, but are paid allowances from the council. Eastern Province is a predominantly rural area and hence there are no city or municipal councils. The government stipulates 63 different functions for the councils with the majority of them being infrastructure management and local administration. Councils are mandated to maintain each of their community centres, zoos, local parks, drainage system, playgrounds, cemeteries, caravan sites, libraries, museums and art galleries.
They also work along with specific government departments for helping in agriculture, conservation of natural resources, postal service, establishing and maintaining hospitals, schools and colleges. The councils prepare schemes that encourage community participation. Chama District from the province was aligned to the newly created Muchinga Province in 2011.