….2021 budget lacks the peoples will
By Tinaani Nyabereka.
Gweru residents have raised concern over the just approved 2021 Local Authorities budget on already suffering citizens with Covid and national economic turmoil Zimbabwe has been through since year 2000.
The ZWL 3.2 billion budget which was approved by government will see Gweru City Council (GCC) implementing a 60% tariff increase on service delivery.
Occupation certificate fee for home- seekers has been raised from $5 000 to $8050 while beacon relocation costs went up to ZWL $14490 from $9 000 respectively.
Gweru Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association,( GUPRARDA) Director, David Chikore told Post On Sunday that although the town house was in jubilation, the 60% tariff is being placed on burdened residents citing the wrong timing for implementation of the newly approved rates to people who are facing the devastating lockdown effect due to the surge in Covid 19 cases.
“As the mayor and his team celebrate the early approval of the 2021 ZWL 3.2 billion budget, we believe it imposes a whopping 60% quantum tariff leap on the already overburdened population.
We appeal to central government and GCC to review downwards this budget as it is an anti-peoples budget. The views of stakeholders and residents who attended consultations were ignored by the drafter of final budget.
“Careful considerations on the implementation period need to be revised as implementation is to start immediately at a time most people are under the 30 days lockdown which disrupted business across the economic sector with Zimbabwe having over 80% of the population being informal traders and they are heavily affected” said Chikore.
Gweru Residents have since rejected the proposed tariffs hikes during consultations, and pleading with the city fathers to revise the budget downwards.
Chikore however urged residents to settle their bills but council should make sure the era of estimates is over.
Council should invest heavily in sprucing its image as trust issues are central in all financial transactions” he said.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association Director (GRRA), Selipiwe Cornelia said It’s a pity to note the budget is not reflecting the people’s will and aspirations, it is an elitist kind of budget as it doesn’t contain the views and inputs of the poor, its being forced down our throats while Gweru Mayor, Councillor Josiah Makombe, commended Government for approving this disputed budget early.
The approved revenue budget was ZWL $2 902 198 998, capital ZWL $300 000 000 all amounting the total budget to $3 202 198 998 added Makombe.
In its 2020 end of year report, Gweru council highlighted strict debt collection measures ,as a 19% interest per annum levy will be imposed to defaulters with loyal payers getting a 20% discount in the 2021.