Thupeyo Muleya, Beitbridge Bureau
BEITBRIDGE Municipality has adopted a $90 million budget for this year that will see most rates and services’ tariffs increasing by over 250 percent.
In addition, water tariffs have been revised upwards by an average of 866 percent in tandem with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority’s (Zinwa) revised tariff for intermediate consumers in September last year.
The local authority’s Finance and Staffing Committee chairman Councillor Granger Nyoni, during a budget statement presentation meeting on Wednesday said their budget was prepared on a cost-recovery basis to provide affordable and efficient services to the ratepayers.
He said the tariffs were increased in line with macro-economic fundamentals to improve revenue collection rate from 46 percent to over 80 percent in the first six months of this year.
Cllr Nyoni said they were expecting a total income of $89,9 million and a total expenditure of $89,8 million with a surplus of $183 007.
“During budget consultations, stakeholders requested to pay for municipal services in South African rand to avoid a supplementary budget,” he said.
“The current legislation did not allow us to implement that, but we shall seek exemptions from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe so that while our goods and services are priced in local currency, our residents will have an option of paying the same in South African rand.”
He said in coming up with the 2020 budget, they considered among other factors, the council’s ability to continue offering services on cost-recovery basis, economic indicators, the financial performance of council-liquidity, vulnerable groups, ability to access basic services and decline in formal employment.
“Additionally, this is a programme based budget (PBB) rather than traditional line-item budgeting. The rationale of PBB is to strengthen the linkage between funding and results, with a view to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of public expenditures,” said Cllr Nyoni.
“It ensures that organisational efforts are focused on the results the organisation wants to achieve. It, therefore, shifts focus away from inputs, processes, and activities to give greater emphasis on the outputs and outcomes that will benefit residents”.
He said the proposed budget was crafted to improve services in governance and administration ($16 million), social services ($23,5 million), roads ($6,6million), public safety, water and sanitation ($34 million) and security services ($3,3million).
Cllr Nyoni said some of the planned capital projects were roads and stormwater drainage stands servicing, refuse compactor, bus terminus, Vhembe lab, paving, public toilet, primary school construction, sewer upgrade, recreational park, public lighting, motor vehicles and earthmoving equipment (grader, bowser, and tipper).
The council has also introduced a five percent Ward Retention Fund that will spur infrastructure development at ward level.
The money, Cllr Nyoni said will be collected from the revenue collected for services from each ward.
“We have also set aside funds to redevelop or renew the oldest part of Dulivhadzimu suburb. The area in question is to the north of the Dulivhadzimu stadium (including the stadium) and west of the Makhado road and extends to the west to include the old bus terminus and the Wamlala stream.
“It is characterised by buildings which are not only decaying but also do not satisfy the minimum requirements for habitable buildings. Part of the area is also prone to floods. The urban renewal project seeks to rehabilitate the old Dulivhadzimu precinct by renovating and/or replacing dilapidated buildings with new ones,” he said.