By Tonderai Saharo
GUTU Rural district council has tabled an ambitious $395.5 million budget for 2021 with authorities targeting improvements health care services, water and sanitation in one of the most populous district in Masvingo province.
Tabling the local authority working budget for next year, Chairman of the finance committee Councillor Felix Chitsa said the budget was crafted after consultations with residents and other stakeholders with a view to transforming the district.
He said the budget will address the local authority’s 2020- 2025 strategic plan.
“The budget plan whose main thrust should be to transform and improve lives of the residents of Gutu as opposed to being mere tools for recording and controlling expenditure patterns,” Chitsa said.
“The 2021 budget is a Programme Based Budget and has bias towards enhancing service delivery.
“It is a budget that places emphasis on measurable results that are based on predetermined projects, programmes and are measured by outputs and outcomes on the welfare of residents.”
He said of the total budget amount, residents will raise $146,5m in revenue while $249million will be from grants.
Devolution funds will contribute $232m of the total grant while the remainder will be from ZINARA funds.
“72% of the total budget has been allocated to Capital expenditure and Revenue expenditure takes up the remaining 28%,” Chitsa said.
The local authority said it will use over $148 million towards the construction of 8 clinics around the district while channelling $37.5 million towards purchasing a new water drilling rig.
The water rig will be used for drilling more boreholes in the drought prone district.
“Council is mindful of the general hardships among residents and has chosen to set fair charges notwithstanding the economic volatility currently obtaining.
“However, our journey will be complete if residents play their part by paying rates, while the government will be expected to timeously disburse the allocated grants,” Chitsa said.
Meanwhile, residents have voiced their displeasure over the decision by the local authority to part with $5.6m in purchasing motor bikes for councillors.