HomeLocal NewsCouncils must reduce wage bills – Chombo

Councils must reduce wage bills – Chombo

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LOCAL Government minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday said he will not approve any council budget that does not reflect a commitment to reduce salary costs.

FELUNA NLEYA,STAFF REPORTER

Speaking at the installation of Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, Chombo said councils should be innovative and look for other sources of funding instead of relying on rates.

He said local authorities were free to engage in private-
public-partnerships to improve service delivery without burdening ratepayers with exorbitant tariff charges.

“My ministry notes with concern that the city’s salary bill continues to gobble the better chunk of the budget at the expense of service delivery, contrary to my directive that councils must of necessity maintain a 30:70 salary-to-service delivery ratio. Notably, funds are wasted on unnecessary trips for meetings and conventions by councillors and officials.

“I will not approve any budget that does not demonstrate commitment to reduce employment costs,” Chombo said.

He also urged council to address the issue of high staff complement and rationalise posts including those of heads of department with the view to usher in efficiency and effectiveness.

“Equally worrying is the city’s public relations which is not reflective of the grandeur befitting the country’s capital. Harare is by all means the microcosm of Zimbabwe and as such should come out of its shell and aggressively reach out to residents, ratepayers, domestic/foreign tourists and communicate effectively with all the clients and stakeholders. I therefore expect an improvement in the city’s rapport with employees, residents and ratepayers as well as in marketing it as the Sunshine City.

Chombo implored council to be innovative and to find ways of decongesting the city to avert further distress to road users.

Meanwhile, the council has passed a resolution making it mandatory for property owners in the central business district to erect gates at sanitary and service lanes at their premises to guard against misuse of the lanes by litterbugs and street kids, especially at night.

Property owners are expected to have erected the gates by December 31 this year, failure which council would mount its own gates and pass the costs to the owners.

The local authority also endorsed plans to force property owners and tenants in the CBD to sort garbage generated at their premises according to use and type.

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