By Alois Vinga
HARARE City Council (HCC) has unveiled a $41,8 billion budget for the year 2022, hinged on improving water reticulation and other key service areas.
Presenting the city’s 2022 budget blueprint, the chairperson of the finance and development committee, councillor Tichavona Mhetu said it constitutes 43,3% of the capital budget which focuses on key projects and 43,7% of revenue budget made up of anticipated cash inflows respectively.
Capital budget of $10,3 billion is envisaged and will be funded through grants, donations, and statutory remittances.
The proposed budget will reduce non-revenue water from the margins of 62% through several interventions, including pipe replacement, water metering and accurate billing amid plans to expedite the utilisation of alternative water treatment chemicals such as chlorine dioxide, which will assist in reducing the cost of treating water.
The solid waste sector was allotted $1,6 billion, the water services sector $2,1 billion and wastewater got $683 million.
“We aim to capitalise our biological assets as we seek alternative sources of income and alleviate the burden on rate payers through cattle breeding as a low hanging fruit. We have since bought 64 heifers to boost the quality of our herd and it is my sincere hope that we undertake a project that adds value not only to the wastewater treatment process and increases revenue for the City of Harare,” Mhetu said.
The city allocated $953,9 million towards road infrastructure and $296 million towards traffic management.
Public safety and security services were allocated $602,1 million amid reports that the foreign currency payment of shipment of 4 fire tenders and Fire equipment donated to the city of Harare in 2017 by Operation Florian UK has been done. Two of the four fire tenders are in transit.
“Tender for 10 ambulances is at an advanced stage and we expect delivery by first quarter 2022, this is a major boost to our depleted fleet,” said Mhetu.
The social services program which consists of housing delivery, education, social amenities, informal sector, and health services was allotted $2,3 billion with governance and administration programs earning $1,6 billion.
Natural resources, conversation and management was allotted $83,5 million in a bid to enable council to take a proactive approach to issues of conservation rather than the reactive approach currently obtaining as environmental issues take centre stage and cannot be ignored any further without negative impact on sustainable development.
“The proposed 2022 revenue budget before you are a responsive budget. It has been crafted with a need to strike a balance between service delivery and affordability,” Mhetu said.