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Bulawayo residents face 216% rates hike

by Staff reporter
01 Oct 2021 at 07:53hrs | Views
BULAWAYO rate payers are expected to pay an average of 216 percent more in tariffs as the local authority has proposed a $24 billion budget for the coming year.

The budget consists of a $16,8 billion revenue budget and a $7,9 billion capital projects budget.

Residents in the city centre will be paying US$141 per month, up from US$51 in bills or $12 100, up from $4 400.

In most western suburbs people were paying around US$13 which will increase to US$41 per month or $3 500 up from $1 100.

BCC proposes to increase sales' tariffs by 650 percent; rates and supplementary charges will go up by 155 percent; licences 450 percent; rents 250 percent; fees, 450 percent; refuse 300 percent; water 170 percent; sewerage 160 percent; interest 109 percent and grants, 40 percent. The proposed tariff increases which are subject to Government approval come as the city is technically insolvent with debtors owing it $1,13 billion while the city owes $1,06 billion to its creditors.

The local authority has said provision of health care, water, sewerage, housing roads, education, public lighting, social services and ambulance service are among the council's top priorities.

The council expects to spend $6,6 billion in providing health services, $2,6 billion on water; $1,8 billion on fire and ambulance service; $1,7 billion on sewerage services; $1,4 billion on roads; $800 million on education; $400 million on public lighting and $14 million on housing.

The local authority intends to construct two clinics in Nkulumane and Cowdray Park suburbs while completing the construction of Vulindlela Primary School in Cowdray Park suburb.
BCC intends to invest $2,1 billion on water; $1,2 billion on water; $1,2 billion on education services as some of its high capital projects.

Bulawayo Mayor Councillor Solomon Mguni said the developments in the country's economy has forced council to come up with such a budget.

He said in the year 2022, BCC is hoping for a better year benchmarking on progress that the country has made in fighting Covid-19.

Cllr Mguni said council's budget is targeted at improving on service delivery matters.

"A lot has been done on water and sanitation through the funding from the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the fruits of the investment are being seen and felt now and also in the coming years and beyond. The 2022 budget seeks to ensure the city responds to the issues affecting the generality of its citizens council is indeed aware of the state of our public infrastructure such as roads and sanitation. In the year 2022 our wish is to see an improvement in the delivery of roads, sanitation and water."

Reacting to the council's proposed budget, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) coordinator Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu said the proposed tariffs were too high for ordinary most ratepayers.

He suggested that council hikes bills for business which may afford to pay such amounts.

"We are still analysing the proposal by council but for starters the 225 percent increase on tariffs is way too much for residents who were already struggling to pay rates due to economic challenges. What we can say for now is council should concentrate on generating revenues from business premises instead of burdening ordinary residents who also need steady incomes to be able to pay rates," he said.

Source - chronicle
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