By Midlands Correspondent
KWEKWE City Council has been left with a few days’ supply of water treatment chemicals, Mayor Angeline Kasipo has revealed.
Kasipo told residents at a supplementary budget consultative meeting Friday that the municipality is faced with a critical situation after exhausting its government approved $26,9 million budget.
She blamed runaway inflation for the financial mess the city finds itself in.
“The city’s budget which has been approved was prepared in US dollar terms. Our budget was prepared on 1:1 rate between USD and bond note.
“When we prepared the budget, we had forecasted that the inflation rate would be around 5%,” Kasipo said.
Changes to fiscal and monetary policy by central government has played havoc with a lot of budgets in both the private and public sector.
The bond note’s value has been sliding when compared to the US dollar rates.
To stem the tide, government last week announced the ban on the use of the US$ in all local transactions, instead, designating the local dollar as the sole medium of exchange.
Kasipo added: “We had budgeted $1 million for water and it has since been exhausted. When preparing for our budget, we didn’t foresee the tumbling of the RTGS dollar. The recent turn of events has since gone beyond everyone else’s expectations.”
In order to avert the impending health crisis in the city, Kasipo said government advised the local authority to craft a supplementary budget “based on cost recovery.”
“This is an emergency. We have since run out of water treatment chemicals,” she said.
In a bid to cushion itself from the inflationary environment, the local authority said it will increase rates by over 300 %, a move which is being resisted by residents.
Acting city finance director, January Mukandapi said the council is aiming to increase the budget to $41 million, up from $27 million.
Among its top creditors, the local authority owes State power utility Zesa $18, 6 million and the Zimbabwe National Water Authority $1, 6 million.