Bulawayo residents have implored the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to improve service delivery to justify the proposed supplementary budget which will see residents paying more in rates and bills.
The local authority has been forced to push for a supplementary budget, amid indications that the current budget passed late last year has been eroded by inflation and currency rates distortions.
Engaging women at the Large City Hall, Monday, the local authority proposed to increase rates by 56% which the residents said if passed should result in improved service delivery.
BCC held a 2019 Supplementary budget consultation meeting at the large City Hall to engage residents on the new budget.
“We would like to see better services offered by the city council to justify why we have to pay the higher rates,” said Blessing Phiri, a resident from ward 20.
“Already with the proposed budget, we will be paying twice as much for water which means we should not face water shedding challenges.”
Another resident Memory Mpilo said clinics should provide better health care services and provide medication.
“When we go to clinics and public hospitals, we have to pay a registration fee but we do not get medication. We need the city council to ensure that we access medication at its health centres,” said Mlilo.
“Instead of going to the pharmacy where we are required to buy drugs in US dollars, we should at least buy medication from the clinics, that way it is affordable to us.”
Loretta Ndlovu said with the proposed budget, public lighting and traffic lights should be repaired.
“There are some suburbs that do not have street lights and some traffic lights have not been repaired since the January shutdown,” said Ndlovu.
“There should be an allocation for repairing these lights because it is dangerous to walk in some of the suburbs at night as it will be too dark.”
Responding to the residents’ pleas Thandekile Nkomo, an official from the finance department said the increased budget is to ensure BCC works effectively in ensuring the resident’s needs are met.
“We are doing the best we can to make sure we provide residents with the services they need, this is why the budget was increased,” said Nkomo.
“We are guided by the economy, and if it improves for the better it makes our job a lot easier.”