Gweru Council cuts 2020 budget by 60%

By Stephen Chadenga
Gweru City Council mayor, Josiah Makombe on Monday said the local
authority had resolved to cut the 2020 $1,8 billion budget by 60%.
Makombe said the decision was made following a special council meeting
which was convened last week to adjust the budget.
“Obviously given the economic challenges that residents are facing we
have decided to cut the 2020 budget by 60%,”Makombe said at a press
briefing.
“We considered the complaints raised by stakeholders particularly on
the proposed 2020 tariffs which they felt were exorbitant.”
Makombe also said in cutting the budget council was cognisant of the
fact that residents and business’ debt had risen to $80 million as at
December 31 2019.
The adjustment follows a recent letter written by Gweru Residents and
Ratepayers Association (GRRA) director, Cornelia Selipiwe who demanded
to know the criteria used in coming up with the 2020 budget.
“We request justification for tariffs and detailed breakdown of
expenditure items for the proposed 2020 budget statement,”read part of
the letter addressed to council acting town clerk, Vakai Chikwekwe.
“In light of the fact that, the conflicted proposed budget has been
sent to the Minister for approval, we request explanation to why we
have different proposed budgets statements for the same period.”
Meanwhile, MDC Alliance Midlands proportional representation
legislator, Memory Mbondiya urged local councils to consider
mainstreaming gender issues in their budget allocations to address
gender inequalities at local level.
“Local authorities need to have budgets that are gender specific,”she
told Radiovop.
“There is need to focus on gender responsive budgets that accommodate
gender activities and empowerment programmes.”