Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it might be forced to approach residents in March or June for a supplementary budget, amid indications that the current budget passed late last year has been eroded by inflation and currency rates distortions.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Mayor Solomon Mguni told Southern Eye yesterday that the decision was in response to the prevailing economic situation.
“We don’t want to burden our residents, but we have no choice. Maybe we will have to go back to them as early as March or June with the supplementary budget so that we can push those developments,” he said.
“Our hope will be to finish those projects we were doing in 2018, and some of them, you recall that they started in the last council, and some of them had already started like the Egodini Mall project. But you are aware and everyone is aware of the macro-economic instability that we have been thrown into by this Zanu PF regime.”
Mguni said they anticipated that they will have some difficulties in completing the projects.
“First and foremost, the 2019 budget, which was resubmitted to the [Local Government] ministry for approval has been eroded by 35% before the ministry has even approved it. Our bank savings have been equally eroded by a similar margin to the extent that what we would have budgeted then, makes it really not feasible for us to undertake those projects which we would have earmarked to complete.It makes it even more difficult to undertake new projects, some of which are funded by the 3% ward retention scheme,” he said.
“The money for the 2018 projects was being funded by the money for 2017, which means projects for 2019 will be funded by the 2018 money. If we are now holding bank balances in terms of Real Time Gross Settlement which are now reduced by 75%, it means they were reduced by three times. It’s not going to be an easy year and we urge our residents that they should be patient with us.
It’s not really our problem, but it has been brought on us by the central government who then brought their macro-economic policies which are anti–people.”