BCC hints on 42% tariffs increase

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI/SHARON SIBINDI

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has proposed a 42% adjustment of all tariffs across the board, a development that will make residents in the high-density suburbs part with an average ZWL$40 per month for water.

Presenting the $454 million supplementary revenue budget for 2019 yesterday, BCC finance and development committee chairperson, Silas Chigora said council was aware of the plight of residents, and had to balance level of service delivery and tariff affordability.

“. . . if council does not adjust tariffs; the city may not be able to offer quality services to its citizens. To that end, council is proposing a 42% adjustment of all tariffs in order to finance the supplementary revenue budget,” Chigora said.

“The proposed adjustment is way below the inflation rate of March 2019. Council intended to increase the tariffs by 56%, but took into cognisance the pleas of the residents and settled for 42%. The increase is way below the current inflation rate (which is still going up).”

Last year the local authority tabled a $212,5 million budget for 2019, which was increased from $152,5 million in 2018.

But the economic environment dramatically changed since the crafting of the budget, resulting in the council failing to meet service delivery as service providers hiked their prices by well over 100%.

Also inflation has significantly increased since October 2018 and as at March 2019 it stood at 66,8%.

Chigora said the proposed increase would, however, not be sufficient to maintain the intended level of service delivery and may force council to scale down on certain services.

“Council, however, intends to breach the gap by enhancing revenue streams such as citywide parking, vending and introduction of truck-inn among others. Council will also vigorously embark on debt recovery measures in order to reduce debtors.”

Council also intends to review its operations, plug leakages, and also embrace new technology to reduce operational costs.

The council embarked on stakeholder consultations, last month which saw a total of 33 meetings being held throughout the city.

Chigora, however, said some wards could not consult for one reason or another.

During these consultations, participants expressed different views with some ratepayers supporting the proposed supplementary increase, while others were against the proposed increases, he said.

Revenue budget for the year now stands at $165,7 million, while capital budget is at $288 million.

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