Harare's 2013 budget likely to fail — Residents

HARARE - Harare City Council’s 2013 proposed budget will fail due to lack of input from key stakeholders, residents’ groups have said.

Combined Harare Residents Association (Chra) and Harare Residents Trust (HRT) have all predicted doom, saying city fathers failed to prioritise service delivery in their financial plan.

Simbarashe Moyo, the Chra chairperson, said the fact that the bulk of council revenue will go towards salaries showed that capital development would fall behind.

“Council has no developmental attitude. It wants to spend more on salaries and less on service delivery and that is unacceptable,” said Moyo.

He said the local authority should have prioritised capital expenditure as well as widened its revenue base.

“Council seems to be depending more on ratepayers. This shows that councillors and management lack creativity. We need a council that has an eye for other revenue-generating mechanisms.  Harare has a lot of resources that include properties. They should utilise those properties and not depend on ratepayers only,” Moyo said.

Council’s $291 million budget has no room for tariff increases, a development which resident groups commended.

The budget, which will mainly be funded from water tariffs and property tax, was presented by the chairperson of the Finance and Development Committee, Friday Muleya.

“Your worship, it is council’s intention to raise the projected income of $272 million required to finance the 2012 annual expenditure without increasing tariffs charges and fees,” said Muleya.

Council clinic fees as well as maternity fees will not increase.

HRT director Precious Shumba said the budget’s success depends on political will of both management and councillors.

“But most importantly, this will be dependent on the capacity of the senior management of the council to transform itself into a performing team that has the willpower and the drive to achieve set objectives,” said Shumba. He further said corruption was affecting service delivery.

“The City of Harare needs to deal decisively with corruption, giving value to all the money generated through various council departments, and realigning their staff complement, because currently, the City of Harare has wrong people assigned to carry out tasks beyond their capacities and competencies.

Shumba said too many people are holding influential positions yet they have increasingly become unproductive, adding the billing system should be revamped to instil confidence. - Xolisani Ncube


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