BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU City Council yesterday announced plans to introduce a supplementary budget anytime this year as its 2022 budget, which is yet to be approved by the government, has already been eroded by currency distortions and inflation.
The remarks were made in the 2021 status of the city report by deputy mayor Cleopas Shiri, who said the year 2021 made council realise that it could not rely on revenue from ratepayers alone, but needed to come up with income-generating projects.
“The 2022 financial outlook is bleak as exchange rate and inflation challenges continue to wreak havoc, and as it stands the proposed 2022 budget, which was prepared when the auction rate was at US$1:$85, has been eroded well before its approval,” Shiri said while presenting the 2021 end of year status of the city report.
“It follows, therefore, that in 2022, council shall be on the constant lookout for stepping in with a supplementary budget should things get out of hand.
“The financial outlook and the events of 2021 made us realise that as a local authority, we cannot rely on revenue that we get from the residents, clients and stakeholders as this derails progress.”
Shiri said council was struggling to meet its service delivery obligations as it was owed a lot of money by residents.
Ratepayers owe the local authority close to $1 billion in unpaid bills.
“We have thus re-strategised our operations and we are saying in 2022, Gweru is open for business,” Shiri said.
“We want to make money for the local authority. We are not a poor council, hence we will use our resources to generate income.”
He appealed to stakeholders to partner council in marketing the city in order to lure investors to the Midlands capital.