Bulawayo City Council (BCC) financial director Kimpton Ndimande has decried government bureaucracy saying it affects the running of local authorities.
Ndimande said the current economic situation is volatile and some policies need to be reviewed for councils to be able to make swift decisions which will enhance service delivery.
He made these remarks while presenting his interventions to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube during the Midterm Budget Review Breakfast meeting at a local hotel in Bulawayo, Friday.
“Before making any changes to the cost of services, we go through consultation of residents, then we approach the minister. This is time consuming and by the time the changes are approved, inflation would have doubled.
“May local authorities be awarded the luxury to independently make decisions in relation to the economic situation to ensure service delivery is not interrupted,” said Ndimande.
Ndimande said they are currently running on a $34.5 million budget deficit and risk having a bigger debt due to the amount of time needed to pass decisions.
“We have since suggested a supplementary budget of a paltry 42%. Till now it hasn’t been approved. By the time it gets approved inflation would have gone higher. We need to be able to make some of these decisions quickly to allow us to deliver quality services especially to the private sector of business,” he said.
Ndimande implored the Ministry of Finance to exempt local authorities from paying the 2 percent tax citing they end up succumbing to double taxation when they engage the private sector for business transactions.
He bemoaned how fuel unavailability has affected service delivery in the city.
He asked the finance ministry to make provisions for them to import fuel as they are capacitated to store up to 100 000 liters of diesel and fuel respectively.
“May the government make a provision that we be able to import fuel on our own. Service delivery heavily depends on availability of fuel. We can’t collect refuse religiously and attending to fire or other emergencies is now difficult. May we be capacitated to import and store our own fuel to be able to maintain consistency in service delivery,” said Ndimande.