Government has approved 52 out of 92 local authorities’ 2021 budgets, signalling a new era in the Second Republic as budgets used to be approved mid-year.
In 2016 during the First Republic, the budget was approved in May 2017 inconveniencing ratepayers who had to receive backdated bills.
In a statement yesterday, Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo said as the 52 budgets had been approved as at December 31, 2020.
“24 budgets were received in the last two days and were still being analysed and should be finalised by January 8, 2021.
“Of the originally submitted budgets 2 were referred back due to lack of compliance with either audit and proper budget requirements and there are Kusile and Umguza RDC,” he said.
Minister Moyo said a team of officials from the Ministry is going to be dispatched to assist the two local authorities that are encountering challenges in the budgeting process.
He said of the 14 local authorities yet to submit their budgets including RDCs of Mutare, Mutasa, Mazowe, Makonde and Hwange Local Board they perennially violate the Public Finance Management Act (Chapter 22:19) statute with regard to budget submissions.
“In this regard all local authorities that violate the provisions of the above quoted Act will have to face the wrath of the law,” he said.
Minister Moyo took a swipe at the councils failing to submit Devolution budgets saying such councils will not receive the Devolution funds.
“In utilising Devolution funds, each council should, therefore, pay attention to projects and programmes that have a high impact on the livelihoods of the local community and populace taking into consideration the three variables which are population, poverty levels and infrastructure development,” he said.
Minister also warned local authorities involving in stripping land without following the proper laid down procedures to desist from such acts forthwith.
He expressed serious concern over the updating of valuation rolls as only one council out of the 92 had done so.
“The 10 percent operational grant of devolution funds will be given to councils to update their valuation rolls in terms of part XVIII of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15).
“Unaudited accounts lagging behind for more than a year like those of Harare and Gweru City Councils will need assistance to correct this situation which is a violation of the statutes,” he said.
Minister Moyo said the approved budgets shall be monitored by his officials, Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, PDC,s and DDCs and their staff in line with Chapter 14 Section 265 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe amendment number 20 of 2013 Act.