FOR the third-year running, the Bulawayo City Council has unveiled a standstill $152 million budget for 2018, with no tariff increases to cushion ratepayers against the harsh economic environment.
BY TALENT GUMPO
Presenting the proposed budget at a special council meeting last Friday, finance and development committee acting chairperson, Charles Moyo, said the proposed $152,6 million budget was in the same range as 2016 and 2017, with water topping the city’s priority list, while ambulance and emergency services remain at the bottom of the list.
“Revenue budget stands at $104 469 476, while capital revenue is at $48 142 546 which comes to a total of $152 612 022,” he said.
“The capital budget will be funded from borrowings, internal sources and grant funding from African Development Bank which funded council to the tune of $33,69 million, of which $13 865 000 is expected to be spent in 2018.”
In crafting the budget, council said it considered a number of factors which include economic indicators, the liquidity crunch, continued decline in formal employment, ministerial guidelines, the need to improve service delivery and continued need to cater for vulnerable groups.
He said the poor economic activity has affected the residents’ capacity to pay utility bills and negatively affected council’s budget performance.
“Industrial and economic activity remains largely subdued, adversely affecting the buying power of citizens which in turn negatively affects Council’s budget performance continuously constraining service delivery. The country is still experiencing liquidity challenges due to non-availability of cash.”
Council urged its hard-pressed residents to come up with payment plans to avoid unnecessary litigations.
He said the proposed 2018 budget was accepted by 28 out of the city’s 29 wards. “Council held 2017 budget review meetings at ward level between July 22 and August 4, 2017.
In addition to the 29 ward meetings, the review meetings were held with the business community, politicians, civic organisations and youths mainly at vocational training centres, women, university and college students as well as the junior council,” said Moyo.