Govt rejects council budgets

via Govt rejects council budgets | The Sunday Mail 07/02/2016 by Debra Matabvu

Government has rejected 2016 budget proposals from 26 urban councils that wanted to prioritise salaries ahead of service delivery.

Eighteen of these — among them Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo and Gweru — were ordered to revise their figures, while the rest were rejected outright.

Only Beitbridge, Chipinge, Gokwe, Kwekwe, Mvurwi and Rusape’s budgets got the nod.
In 2015, the Local Government, Public Service and National Housing Ministry prescribed a salary-service ratio of 30:70, setting an income ceiling of US$10 000 for town clerks.
However, many of Zimbabwe’s 32 councils tipped the scale in favour of salaries, and must now re-do their budgets.

The Sunday Mail understands that Chitungwiza, Ruwa, Plumtree, Norton, Hwange, Gwanda, Chiredzi and Chegutu are already redoing their plans.
Harare presented a US$343 million budget, with salaries and allowances accounting for US$114,3 million for its 9 270-strong workforce.

US$2,7 million would go to replacing refuse collection vehicles, US$20 million to road maintenance equipment and US$24 million to water distribution network upgrades.
The city also proposed to spend US$5,5 million on developing landfill sites, US$470 000 on customer care training and US$400 000 on refurbishing polyclinics in Mabvuku, Highlands, Waterfalls and Kuwadzana.
US$900 000 had been earmarked for construction of district and sub-offices in Dzivaresekwa and Budiriro, with the Highfield District Office being renovated.

Town House also wants to build home industries worth US$6 million.
Bulawayo projected US$153 million expenditure, US$40 million of which would be channelled to salaries.
It had budgeted US$8,25 million for road, bridge and storm water drainage maintenance, and US$6,93 million for solid waste management, refuse disposal and public conveniences.
Chitungwiza’s US$35 million budget respected the 30:70 ratio, but lacked justification and excluded new commuter omnibus operating fees.

Local Government Deputy Minister Christopher Chingosho told this newspaper that residents “should get value for money”.
“The submission deadline for urban council budgets was October 2015, but 18 local authorities met it. Anyhow, we have approved the budgets of six local authorities, rejected eight and 18 are still being reviewed.
“For years, the ministry has been objecting to budgets, some of which were not in line with the 30:70 principle. The checklist we are using will ensure all councils comply with the salary rationalisation exercise.”
Urban and rural planning expert Mr Percy Toriro said this would protect public interests.
“Councils exist to provide services. Government supervises them, thus it is only proper for Government to protect residents’ interests by ensuring quality service.”

Service delivery has deteriorated over the years due to strained budgets occasioned by astronomical wage bills.
Harare’s former town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi took home US$27 000 monthly, excluding vehicle, housing, airtime and workshop allowances, with grades 1-3 executives earning not less than US$14 000.
The city’s monthly wage bill was US$8 million against revenue of US$11 million.
In 2015, Chitungwiza Town Council’s monthly revenue declined to around US$700 000, though the wage bill remained US$1,4 million.

Residents took council to court for “failing to deliver quality service”. The matter is still to be heard.
In Gweru, monthly revenue and salary costs are at US$1,2 million apiece.

 

COMMENTS

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    Zambuko 6 years ago

    Let me see if I understand this.

    Government rejects local council budgets that put salaries ahead of service delivery.

    Eighty per cent of central government expenditure is on salaries and not service delivery.

    Bulawayo’s figure is twenty six per cent.

    The Sunday Mail fails to notice or report on this.

    Harare’s figure is thirty three per cent.