The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has lamented the delay by government in approving its 2019 budget, a situation that has crippled the council’s operations.
In October 2018 the local authority approved a $212,5 million budget.
Speaking at a financial performance review meeting, Wednesday, the city`s finance director Kimpton Ndimande said the delay by government to approve the council’s budget has resulted in revenue loss.
“Our budget has already suffered from this situation which means that the charges which were supposed to be levied in January, February and most probably March have been lost,” said Ndimande.
“Usually by this time of the year the budget would have been approved but this time around the government is reluctant”.
Ndimande revealed that they were not the only local authority in this situation.
“However, Bulawayo is not the only municipal whose budget has not yet been approved as it affects all the Zimbabwean local authorities”.
Meanwhile, Ndimande told stakeholders at the meeting that besides the late approval of the budget, failure by residents to settle their bills has also resulted in poor service delivery in the city.
“Council depends on the ratepayers to fund its operations, but our ratepayers are not paying their bills as expected,” he lamented.
“Our roads are deplorable, sewers are bursting again and we are failing to collect refuse because we are not getting enough from the ratepayers.
However, Ndimande acknowledged that the situation has slightly improved from January with the debtor’s bill going up to $182 million against a creditor`s bill of $180 million.
Meanwhile, stakeholders urged the city council to come up with innovative survival strategies that will counter the revenue challenges faced by the local authority.
“The city council should use its mines, farms and the Bulawayo power station to supplement its revenue instead of depending on rate payers only,” said Percy Mcijo, a representative from informal traders.