Bulawayo residents force council to shelve rates increase in 2023 budget

BULAWAYO – The City of Bulawayo is proposing a US$158 million budget for 2023 – the same as this year’s budget.

Isaac Matare from the council’s finance department said Monday that they had decided to stick to last year’s budget as residents had indicated that they cannot afford any more rates increases.

Council chiefs are however warning ratepayers they will get the same poor service delivery if no rates increases are approved.

A budget meeting at the Large City Hall on Monday attracted only a handful of people.

“The approved budget for 2022 was US$158 million,” Matare said. “The proposed budget for 2023 remains at US$158 million and the proposed tariffs increase in United States dollars is zero percent. For those who will be paying council in local currency, the tariffs will be determined by the US$ to ZWL$ rate at the given time.

“We have kept the budget at the same figure since our stakeholders have raised complaints that they cannot afford higher tariffs.”

Matare warned that the proposed budget will have a huge impact on service delivery.

“We have listened to our stakeholders to maintain the same budget as last year’s but a standstill budget will mean reduced service provision, high probability of a supplementary budget, increased debt recovery measures, high staff turnover, delayed achievements of the smart city concept, and continued rebasing.”

He added that the council intended to spend US$106,064,573 million on computer equipment, computer software, furniture and fittings, infrastructure assets, buildings, motor vehicles, office equipment, plant and machinery, and other assets to ensure it improves some of its functions.

Empty chairs … Residents failed to attend a major budget report back meeting at the Large City Hall on October 24, 2022

A resident who identified himself only as Ndlovu raised concerns over some of the city’s decaying infrastructure, specifically flagging the failure to maintain the Centenary Park and ensure the streets remained clean.

Other residents in attendance urged the council to improve its waste collection.

All the residents in attendance gave a nod to the proposed budget.

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