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Provincial Newspapers The Times

Gweru proposes $435 billion budget

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GWERU City Council has unveiled an ambitious ZWL $434.88 billion Annual Business Plan and
proposed budget for the year 2024, which is aimed to drive the council's goals and enhance service
delivery in the city.

The councils objectives for the upcoming financial year are directly linked with the City’s Strategic
Plan of 2021-2025 with the 2024 budget theme: “Sustainable service delivery and community well-
being.”

According to the budget statement released on Wednesday by the acting Finance Director Michael
Verenga, Gweru-home to about 158 200 residents- has proposed a capital budget of ZWL $60.48
billion, which will be allocated to crucial infrastructure projects and development initiatives.
Additionally, the revenue budget has been set at ZWL $374.4 billion, ensuring a comprehensive
financial framework to support the citys operations.

Verenga said with substantial financial resources and strategic allocation of funds, the local authority
aims to address critical needs, improve infrastructure, enhance service delivery, and ultimately uplift
the well-being of the community.

The budget highlights several key funding sources and initiatives. External borrowing of
US$4,257,735 will contribute to the financial resources available for investment. Other notable
revenue streams include Devolution Funds (ZWL $17.9 billion), ZINARA Grant (ZWL $6.7 billion),
Gweru City Parking revenue (ZWL $5.3 billion), Bentach lease revenue (ZWL $1.2 billion), and Go
Beer farming revenue (ZWL $3 billion), with projected profitability expected to reach ZWL $1.35
billion.

Despite the ambitious plans outlined in the proposed budget, Gweru City Council has announced
that there will be no salary adjustments for council workers. This decision comes as the council
focuses on prioritising essential services and addressing critical needs within the city.

One of the key areas of concern for the council is the improvement of water supply to residents.
Currently, 30 percent of the residents have no access to reliable water supply, while other
residential areas receive water for only 10 hours per day or even as infrequently as once per week.

Recognising the urgency of the situation, the council is working tirelessly to overcome these
challenges and provide adequate water services to all residents.

The water issues are primarily attributed to dilapidated water infrastructure, frequent power
outages, and subpar workmanship. To address these issues, GWERU City Council has allocated a
significant portion of the budget, amounting to ZWL $165 billion, towards water, sanitation, and
hygiene initiatives. This allocation represents over 40 percent of the total budget, underscoring the
council's commitment to resolving the water challenges in the city.

The council plans to rehabilitate and upgrade projects at key water treatment plants such as
Whitewaters Treatment Plant, Gwenhoro Waterworks, and Amapongokwe Waterworks. Through

these endeavours, the council aims to enhance the water reticulation system and ensure a more
reliable and accessible water supply for all residents.

Verenga said council will continue to engage stakeholders, seek feedback, and refine its plans to
ensure that the allocated funds are used efficiently and effectively.

Through collective effort and strategic investment, the council aims to overcome the water supply
challenges and achieve its goals of sustainable service delivery and community well-being.

Besides the water challenges, the budget was also drafted to provide sanitation services, housing,
social services and amenities, health services, roads and public lighting infrastructure, promote local
economic development, mobilise resources for service delivery, and promote good corporate
governance.

On social service delivery, council intends to construct more classroom blocks on existing schools,
construct static satellite clinics, rehabilitation and upgrading of sporting facilities.

On public safety and security services, council has plans to purchase an ambulance, firefighting
equipment and streets light rehabilitation, among other projects.

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