Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has implored the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to explore other revenue generation streams to avoid relying on rates to fund its operations.
This comes after the city mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni insisted that the local authority will implement the supplementary budget despite its resounding rejection by residents.
“We cannot then watch Bulawayo die in the face of these harsh economic fundamentals which everyone can see. We need to take measures, and sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions to ensure we continue providing a service to the city,” the mayor said.
In response, BPRA in a statement said the local authority should first consult residents before increasing tariffs as they are a major stakeholder.
“BPRA appreciates that the operations of the council, under these unkind times, are very severe as the budget has been eroded and that the council is failing to pay its workers. Residents too have been affected by the economic challenges as a great majority of them have been commissioned into street and market vending due to industry closure and languishing economy,” said BPRA coordinator Emmanuel Ndlovu.
“BCC should begin the process of thinking outside the box and not overly rely on rates as the only source of revenue; it must innovate and come up with novel means of funding their operations.”
He said the city council must consider maximising on some of its assets and farms as an alternative source of revenue.
“Council must think of repossessing some of its farms and make them productive,” said Ndlovu.
“The local authority must also think of the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station and repossess it to produce electricity and bill residents.”
He added: “BCC should also re-engage the Zimbabwe National Water Authority over the Nyamandlovu Aquifer, a project that council has invested a lot in. ZINWA cannot continue to be a gatekeeper and beneficiary while the council pumps the water from the ground using its machinery.”
Ndlovu also said the local authority employ cost-cutting measures costs to avoid unnecessary expenses.
“BCC should be practising ‘austerity for prosperity’ and cut down on its bloated fleet of vehicles, most of these vehicles are doing personal business for council employees,” said Ndlovu.