Bulawayo approves $3.8 trillion for 2006


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The Bulawayo City Council has approved a $3.8 trillion “maintenance budget” for 2006 which will see charges increase by an average of 250 percent but still leave a deficit of $1.3 trillion.

The budget was approved by the council on Monday but still awaits approval by the Ministry of Local Government.

This year’s budget was only approved in April when the council had already lost $5.3 billion in revenue. It was also trimmed from $775 billion to $515 billion.

Presenting the budget for 2006, the chairman of the Finance and Development Committee, Clr Thaba Moyo, said there was an urgent need to speed up approval of the budget because total income at current levels of charges would only amount to $738 billion leaving a deficit of $3.1 billion.

Clr Moyo said during budget consultations, residents had said priority should be given to the provision of water, followed by health, sewerage, housing and roads.

Bulawayo has been under water rationing since July and some suburbs, especially those on higher ground, have at times gone for weeks without water.

The city has had no new sources of water since 1976 when the population was about 250 000. Bulawayo had a population of 677 000 according to the 2002 census but this figure has been disputed.

The council has set aside $100 billion as its contribution towards the harnessing of water from the Mtshabezi Dam and the Zambezi Water Project. The provision of water is the responsibility of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority but so far it has failed to deliver.

The council said it will have to increase tariffs and rationalise staff to reduce or eliminate the $1.3 trillion deficit.

Other measures of expanding its revenue would include commercialisation of some services, venturing into horticulture, reviewing rentals of council properties and adjusting fees and licences to full-cost recovery or inflation levels.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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