Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
GWERU City Council says it has shelved the implementation of all capital projects in the city citing inflation which the local authority says has seen proposed budgets of the projects increasing, in some cases, by 100percent.
One of the notable projects to be shelved is the rehabilitation of the road network in Mkoba suburbs.Council had budgeted about $2,6 million but says because of inflation the figure has multiplied about three times forcing the contractor to move off site.
In an interview, Gweru Mayor, Councillor Josiah Makombe, said the current economic climate made it difficult for the local authority to venture into capital projects.
“We can’t embark on capital projects due to inflation. All expenditure of council should have been budgeted for and was indeed budgeted for. So, projects such as road rehabilitation in Mkoba suburbs, for example, have been shelved and the contractor has moved from the site, “ he said.
Clr Makombe commended Government for the $7 million funding which has gone towards the purchasing of four water pumps which are being installed at Amapongobwe Dam to increase water supply to Gweru.
“If it wasn’t for the Government intervention, we would be facing a lot of challenges in terms of sourcing funds for the pumps we needed to get water for the residents and stakeholders,” he said.
Clr Makombe said the situation has been compounded by the fact that Government has not yet approved the proposed $70 million supplementary budget. He said council had initially set a budget of $46 million for this year, an amount which has to be revised at least twice if any meaningful projects are to be done this year.
“Government has not approved our supplementary budget. So, without a supplementary budget we can’t do much in terms of capital projects. Basically, we can’t do much other than provide basic service,” he said.
Meanwhile, Clr Makombe said council has started working on the 2020 annual budget.
“We are proposing a reviewed budget basing on the proposals made by Government in its annual budget. We are factoring the inflation rate as expected next year. We have a proposal from management and councillors are yet to debate it. We will have a special council meeting on Wednesday to look into it then, “ he said.