Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
GOVERNMENT has approved the $4,1 billion 2022 budget for Gweru City Council (GCC), a development that has resulted in domestic tariffs going up by 30 percent and commercial tariffs by 130 percent.
Council last year was operating on a $3,2 billion budget whose performance rate closed at just 70 percent as residents and companies defaulted on settling their bills.
On the service delivery front, residents should expect better from the local authority as the $1,5 billion budget for capital projects will be heavily funded by Government through the Devolution Fund and the Zimbabwe National Road Administration grant.
According to the approved budget schedule, the 30 percent increase will see application fees for shop licences increasing to about $8 000 from $6 000.
Trading licences will increase to over $25 000 from $19 000.
Town burial for an adult increase to $4 400 from $3 300 while burial for children increases to $2 220 up from $1 708.
Burial of a stillborn is pegged at the same rate as that of children.
High-density burials for an adult increase to $2 220 from $1 708 while that of children goes up to $1 480 from $1 139.
Hawkers’ licence fees were increased to $3 390 from $2 608, vendors’ licences increased to $1 695 from $1 304 while ambulance charges per call increased to $2 542 up from $1 956.
Plan approval fees for licensing and related purposes other than construction are being increased to $10 713 up from $8 241.
At council clinics, family planning consultation fees will be pegged at $254 up from $196.
On the water account, the fixed charge for domestic consumers in both high and low-density suburbs is set to increase to $370 from $285.
Acting director of finance Mr Owen Masimba confirmed that the budget had been approved by Government.
“I can confirm that the Government has approved our 2022 budget of $4,1 billion.
Basically, domestic tariffs increased by 30 percent and commercial tariffs increased by 130 percent.
It is worth noting that this was far below the obtaining price movements on the market,” he said.
Mr Masimba said residents should take note that the budget is approved in January and the tariffs hold for the whole year.
“It’s common cause that as the year progresses the operating costs of council will be increasing while the revenue frontier remains stagnant as we will not get another price increase.
What this means is that from around mid-year to year-end if the council does not get a supplementary budget, operations will likely be depressed to the extent of the mismatch between our costs and revenues,” he said.
Mr Masimba said council will explore partnerships, joint ventures and outsourcing some services to further strengthen its resolve to ensure that core components of service delivery remain within acceptable limits in line with Government’s Vision 2030.
“We are however, grateful to the Government for rolling out the Devolution programme because our $1,5 billion capital budget is mostly covered by Devolution funds, Zimbabwe National Road Administration grant for roads rehabilitation programmes and other programmes.
Also, the national budget unveiled by the Minister of Finance had $387 million allocated to us to augment the city’s water and sewer infrastructure,” he said.
Mr Masimba said because these are guaranteed cash flows, residents will notice drastic improvements in the quality-of-service delivery.
“We shall play our part in ensuring that Gweru moves in a positive direction towards attaining upper middle-income status by 2030 because by rehabilitating infrastructure we shall pull investment to the city, generating employment and in doing so, growing the gross domestic product of the city,” he said.
Article Source: The Chronicle