TENDAI BHEBE IN BULAWAYO
The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has bowed to pressure from residents forcing the local authority to cut its proposed 2022 budget to ZWL$23.86bn from the initial ZWL $24.7bn, Business Times can report.
Residents were opposed to the ZWL$24.7bn budget, saying it was unaffordable.
Chairperson of the Finance and Economic Development, Tawanda Ruzive, told residents during his presentation of the 2022 budget at council chambers that BCC was a “ listening council”.
“Residents shared their views on the budget proposals and what came out of the deliberations was the need to improve service delivery. However many felt that the level of increases were unaffordable. In crafting this budget the views of the residents were taken aboard. We are after all, a listening council,” he said.
He added: “In view of the foregoing, I propose that the total budget for 2022 is now pegged at ZWL$23.8bn. The 2022 budget proposes to increase tariffs by varying percentages as opposed to a blanket increase as was done in the past. The overall average increase will be 200% down from the 216%. Compared with 2021 budget increases of 421%, the 2022 budget increase in tariffs have been reduced.”
He said waste water charges will be increased by 150% for both domestic and non-domestic users.
“The rates for domestic properties will increase by 150% whereas non domestic property rates will increase by 177%, water charges for domestic consumption will increase by 150% while water for non-domestic use will go up by 180%.
Ruzive said charges such as admission fees to stadia and swimming pools, hire of council facilities, patient fees for use of an ambulance, cessation fees and similar charges classified as fees will go up by 450%.
“Shop licences, liquor licences, garage licences, trading permits, route approval, development permits and inspection fees classified as licences will increase by 450%. Council rented properties will increase by 250%. Sale of pit sand and precast products will increase by 626%. Council is mandated to deliver quality services to the residents and that quality comes at a cost, which continues to go up,” he said.
Ruzive said the plight of residents cannot be ignored and hence there is a need to balance the level of service delivery.
“As we deliberate on the budget proposal, it is important therefore that we focus on our vision. The budget activities and our priority list should motivate all of us to walk this painful journey to glory,” he said.