Vic Falls proposes US$20 million budget

After initially blocking consultative meetings towards crafting the 2023 budget, Victoria Falls City residents have finally allowed the local authority to go ahead but only if it reduces its proposed US$20 million financial plan.

The council last month rolled out ward consultative meetings to consult residents but the residents association rallied residents to boycott the process in protest over alleged corruption in the local authority.

Meetings resumed this week and council met stakeholders at the council boardroom where the two parties finally found each other and resolved to go ahead with the budget but with conditions.

The city treasurer Neville Ndlovu presented a US$20 million budget proposal for 2023 which residents immediately shot down saying it showed a 100 percent increase in most tariffs.

Ndlovu based his 2023 budget on the city’s supplementary budget for 2022, which was US$18 million.

The US$18 million included the budget agreed upon for the year 2022 and a supplementary budget crafted in June this year which residents queried.

Residents want the council to reduce the proposed US$20 million budget.

“We are here for a reduction and we say reduce your budget,” said a resident.

“We want good service and we are not opposed to the budget-making process. All we want is that you effect a reasonable percentage increase on the original figure and not the 500 percent you have put.

“We beg that you at least reduce tariffs by 10 percent and where there is need for increase put at about 25 percent,” said Ozias Marange, one of the business persons in the city.

Former councillor Ephias Mambume said council should be considerate of the fact that business is still trying to find its feet after Covid-19.

“I propose no increment because companies are still growing after Covid-19. The supplementary budget you are basing on was not signed. So let’s have a gradual increase to our budget,” he said.

A civic activist Sifiso Sibanda accused councillors of “sleeping on duty” saying “there are a lot of leakages at council, councillors must wake-up.”

She was referring to corruption allegations within the local authority.

In response to residents’ call for slash in the budget proposal, the city treasurer said residents should expect a reduction in the quality of service once revenue is cut.

Town Clerk Ronnie Dube said in listening to people’s concerns, council would also implore the residents to identify areas they want reduced than to reduce across board.

He said the local authority will in light of the outcome of the meeting, sit and deliberate on the concerns after which it will advertise the budget

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button