Gweru proposes stagnant budget

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Gweru (New Ziana)-Gweru City Council has proposed a stagnant budget which will see the 2022 tariffs and charges in the same as the 2018 budget estimates in United States dollars terms.

Speaking during a social accountability meeting convened by the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association, Gweru deputy mayor Cleopas Shiri said although the tariffs will be charged in RTGS, council would use the USD as a base for the charges.

“We want to use the 2018 budget as a base for the 2022 estimates. Although we will use the USD as a base the money would be translated to RTGS using the interbank rate.

“We did not use the RTGS as a base due to inflation so what that means is that there would be an increase in the figures due to inflations,” he said.

GCC has scheduled a number of consultative meetings with stakeholders who include residents associations, business community, churches, disabled and academic institutions among others.

Council will also conduct Zoom budget consultations on Friday 29 October and Sunday 31 October, which has been criticised by residents.

The local authority has pointed at Covid-19 as the reason for their failure to conduct physical meetings.

GRRA executive director Cornelius Selipiwe said residents prefer physical meetings.

“Residents want physical budget consultative meetings. These Zoom meetings have no gone down with residents because when you have Zoom meetings the assumption is that everyone has a smart phone and data, which is not feasible.

“If you look closely the economy doesn’t allow that and recently cost of data bundles was increased so that on itself tells you that residents cannot do a budget consultative meeting on Zoom. Residents have a lot to say and do you think residents can sustain a two-hour budget consultative when they are failing to pay their dues to council,” he said.

Selipiwe said council was smuggling in the budget as they are doing both consultation and inspection at the same when they are supposed to do consultations first.

He said it was not true that council was going to come up with a standstill budget when there were was a 30 percent increase.

The Times- New Ziana

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