Masvingo residents reject council’s $26 million budget proposal for 2019

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By Masvingo Correspondent

MASVINGO residents have rejected a $26 million council budget proposal for 2019 which they vowed to resist through demonstrations if authorities proceeded to impose it.

In the draft budget, the local authority is proposing a water tariff increase from the current 80 cents per 18 cubic meters for domestic consumption to $1.45 while commercial usage will increase from $1.90 to $2.10 for the first 24 cubic meters.

Council is also proposing to increase refuse collection charges per bin from the current $1 to 1.40 per month.

City treasurer, Thandiwe Dube said the budget was not final but was a draft that was proposed so that it could receive some input through various levels of consultation among rate payers and other interested parties who have a 30 day window to lodge their objections, if any.

However, Masvingo United and Ratepayers Alliance spokesperson Godfrey Mtimba said the increment was unrealistic as the local authority was failing to provide adequate water and sewer reticulation services to rate payers.

“Why are they proposing to hike water and refuse collection services while they are failing to provide these services?

“We are going to reject the budget. We will mobilise the residents and other rate payers and take to the streets as a sign of rejecting this budget,” Mtimba said.

Currently, the city is experiencing erratic water supplies with some residential areas now going for two weeks without receiving a drop of the precious liquid.

The local authority has for the past five years, failed to have a government guarantee on a $50 million loan that was extended to it by a Chinese firm.

Once given the money, the local authority plans to undertake a water augmentation project aimed at increasing the city’s pumping capacity from the current 30 megalitres a day to 48 megalitres.