THE Bulawayo City Council on Tuesday unveiled a supplementary budget which proposes to increase rates by 45%.
Presenting the proposed revenue supplementary budget to councillors in chambers, the chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee, Silas Chigora said the proposed supplementary budget would increase the budget provision for 2019 from the current $116 599 243 to $165 570 925.
Chigora said the budget adjustments have been necessitated by recent monetary policy and national budget statements announced by Finance Minister Mtuli Ncube and Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya.
“The monetary policy and national budgets statements announced by the government negatively affected council budget which was crafted in September 2018.
“As a result of the dramatic changes in the economic environment, council felt that there was need for a supplementary budget in order to re-align the budget with service deliverables set for the current year,” he said.
Chigora said the local authority consulted stakeholders.
“During these consultations, participants expressed their views with some ratepayers supporting the proposed supplementary increase while others were against the proposed increases,” said Chigora.
In coming up with the proposed supplementary budget, Chigora added, council considered that the previous budget was crafted when the USD rate to RTGs was 1:1 while inflation rate stood at 5%.
“Council then proposed an increase in line with inflation levels. The introduction of 2% of Intermediated Money Transfer Tax (IMTT) increased council operating costs and such expense had not been budgeted for.
“The volumes of transactions done by the city make this expense significant and impossible to absorb. Service providers have hiked their prices by well over 100%,” said Chigora.
The chairperson said water chemicals whose prices are now pegged against the prevailing USD exchange rate have also had a significant impact on the increases in costs.
“The supplementary budget therefore cushions the accounts so that water chemicals are available as and when required. Water bursts continue to occur in the city due to aged infrastructure.
“The bulk of the proposed budget is meant to ensure that our pipelines are maintained and bursts are attended to promptly,” Chigora said.
The proposed budget will be advertised for 35 days before being taken to government for approval.