Bulawayo residents warned of ‘pain’ ahead as city unveils US$158 million budget

BULAWAYO – The City of Bulawayo has warned residents to anticipate “pain” in 2023 as economic instability continues to hamper service delivery by the local authority.

Presenting the US$158 million budget for 2023 on Monday, finance and development committee chairman councillor Tawanda Ruzive said local authorities were not islands that could outperform the national economy.

“Council is expected to deliver services in line with the residents and stakeholders’ expectations. However, the economy must be stable in order to realise the goals and outcomes highlighted in this budget,” Ruzive said.

“Along the way, the people of Bulawayo should expect to experience some pain.”

Ruzive highlighted low investment and exchange rate and price instability as some of the biggest challenges facing the council.

The councillor noted that the country’s three-digit inflation, multiple exchange rates, and the burden of high debt levels have had the overall effect of increasing the cost of production and encouraged informality.

A revenue budget of US$157.99million was presented for 2023, unchanged from this year.

The council has vowed to strengthen its debt recovery measures, Ruzive said to ensure that ratepayers are not inconvenienced by those who default on their payments.

“Amongst issues raised, residents and stakeholders bemoaned deteriorating service delivery. They desire to have roads rehabilitated as opposed to pothole patching; sewer blockages permanently addressed or attended to expeditiously; water losses from leaks and bursts reduced; replacing old pipes with new ones; functioning streetlights on every road with all tower lights working properly,” he said.

The local authority said the 2023 budget will be funded from external borrowing, revenue contributions to capital outlay, Zimbabwe National Road Authority funding, devolution funds and anticipated donations amongst other sources.

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