By Brenna Matendere
Gweru City Council has tabled a $567 million budget for next year, which is likely to see rates going up substantially.
The proposed budget is a steep increase from this year’s $46 million and the local authority has attributed the variance to ballooning inflation.
Council’s acting finance director Owen Masimba told a budget consultative meeting in the city on Friday that the financial plan might even be reviewed before it is implemented.
“Out of the $567 million, council expects to collect revenue to the tune of $337 million while expenditures on capital projects should amount to $229 million,” he said.
“We are currently experiencing a bad environment due to the inflation and while the figures look big, by the time the budget is approved for the year 2020 the money will have lost its value of today.”
Masimba said in the event that the budget is eroded by inflation before the beginning of next year, council could table a supplementary budget as early as February.
“We are going to table this budget using the current figures but it is likely that in January or February we can be making another supplementary financial plan in order to beat inflation,” he said.
Cornelia Selipiwe, the Gweru Residents and Ratepayers’ Association director, said his organisation will only know the views of its members after consultations have been made.
He, however, pointed out that residents are heavily burdened by the current economic hardships and will not afford to pay higher rates.
“At the moment residents are struggling to pay the current rates,” he said.
“Things are hard and money is difficult to get for most residents who are either unemployed or are earning paltry salaries or income from informal trade. It’s a tight situation.”
Council is owed about $66 million by residents and companies who are reeling under the economic problems bedevilling the country.