The municipality of Gwanda has adopted an $8,6 million budget for 2015, but conceded that a depressed economic and business environment was negatively affecting the municipality’s operations, as residents are reluctant to pay for services.
Unveiling the 2015 budget at the Gwanda municipality chambers on Monday, finance and licensing committee chairman, Johane Ncube said the liquidity crunch had negatively affected various projects which council had set to achieve this year.
“When the year began, we set out to collect revenues of $13,3 million,” he explained.
“Unfortunately we only collected $2,7 million being 18% of the budget.
“We literally survived from hand-to-mouth this year, a scenario that is not ideal for an organisation that is mandated to run a town as big as ours.”
Ncube said the council was owed more than $4 million for services it had rendered.
“We also owe various creditors more than $8 million, the bulk is due to Zinwa (Zimbabwe National Water Authority) and Zimra (Zimbabwe Revenue Authority),” he said in his budget statement.
Ncube said despite the economic challenges, the municipality was able to procure, through a debt-swop deal, several service delivery vehicles, a refuse compactor and a fire tender.
Ncube said they have since engaged debt collectors to help improve revenue collections, while urging residents to help grow the town by paying their rates.
He said the municipality will not be raising most of charges in 2015 due to stable currencies in use and low inflation rates in the country.
In terms of the 2015 budget proposals, Ncube said the local authority projects a total revenue of $9,1 million, while the total budgeted expenditure is $8,6 million leaving a surplus of over half a million dollars.
He said $2 million will go towards the completion of the five megalitre Spitzkop reservoir, which will ease water shortages at high-lying townships, while $640 000 has been set aside for the installation of prepaid water meters.
The council intends also to purchase an ambulance for $40 000, rehabilitate roads and install traffic lights at a cost of $482 000, erect tower lights at $104 000 and acquire heavy duty generators for water pump stations at $20 000, while employees salaries and general expenses will gobble $1,7 million and
$2,5 million respectively.
Ncube said the budget was crafted taking into consideration issues such as results-based management principles, as espoused in ZimAsset, gender-bias towards women and children, promotion of low inflation rates and that the foreign currencies will continue to be in use in the short to medium term.