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Paltry attendance at budget review meeting

Only 10 people attended a Bulawayo City Council (BCC) 2022 budget performance review consultation meeting, Monday, meant for informal traders with council officials concerned with the low attendance.

BCC is holding 2022 budget performance review meetings in all the city’s wards and with various stakeholders.

The meeting which was scheduled to start at 9 am only kicked off an hour later with an attendance of about ten informal traders.

Presenting the 2022 budget performance review, BCC Finance Manager, Isaac Matare said as from January to June 2022, the local authority received ZWL$27 million from the informal sector.

Council officials in attendance

Matare commended the informal sector for paying religiously to the local authority.

He said as of 30 June, BCC was owed ZWL$9 billion by debtors and they are introducing a new credit policy which will see them attaching residents’ property through the courts.

However, some vendors felt that the meeting was not supposed to take place as it had a low turnout.

“I do not know whether it was a good idea for this meeting to continue since the venue is empty, if you are to be asked how the review meeting was and whether people attended, how are you going to answer that question because we are very few,” said a participant.

 He said the low turnout affected their participation.

“I do not think it is a good idea for us to continue with this meeting even though we have heard what you were saying but it is difficult for me to respond, it’s always nice to have a larger crowd but if one person attends the meeting it becomes difficult,” said the participant.

BCC Chamber Secretary, Sikhangele Zhou said the local authority is also concerned about the low turnout by residents to consultation meetings.

“As Council, we should be guided by the residents on how we should send our messages where people can get the information because it was announced on social media platforms such as Facebook, different WhatsApp groups and newspapers, that we  are having a consultation meeting with the informal sector.”

“The reason why we have different groups is that we fear that when we combine all residents it will affect your contributions and participation so we wanted our focus to be specifically on informal traders,” said Zhou.

She said the local authority went ahead with the meeting as they respected the vendors who had attended the meeting.

“We were trying to respect you; we didn’t want to cancel the meeting when you had left your schedules and the other problem is that we do not know the main reason why other people did not attend. We went ahead with the meeting because we didn’t want to turn you back when you were already here but please assist us on how we can share information,” said Zhou.

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