Tanaka Nyambo, H-Metro Reporter
Harare City Council will ensure that the 2020 budget is hinged towards addressing water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
This is aimed at averting challenges of cholera and other water borne disease outbreaks, town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango has said.
This was after Government introduced the new budgeting system for local authorities, with councils now expected to present programme-based budgets, which do not give room to hidden costs and allow residents to track council expenditure.
“The feedback that we received from the 2020 budget consultations is that the residents of Harare are expecting a budget that is skewed specifically to addressing the water, sanitation and hygiene issues.
“This is because of the challenges of cholera and other water borne disease outbreaks we have had in the city in the past years.”
“We therefore need to ensure that in our budget we prioritise the WASH programmes in terms of both capital projects and operational budget.
“In our 2019 budget water accounted for 10 percent of the capital budget and we expect to increase it in 2020 so that we are able to sustainably address the key drivers of the cholera outbreaks,” he said.
Eng Chisango said programme based budgets help in monitoring the performance of the projects and increases accountability.
He said local authorities in Zimbabwe are faced with serious challenges ranging from failure to generate and collect enough revenue, challenges in financial management, dilapidated water and sewer infrastructure resulting in disease outbreaks.
“Other challenges we are faced with as local authorities in general are poor public perception, non-compliant ratepayers including domestic consumers, government and business (we are owed over $900 million), use of outdated by-laws, and delay in the alignment of laws to the constitution amongst many others.”
“We are grateful to the Government commitment to allocate not less than five percent of the National Revenue to local authorities for devolution purposes and these funds will assist in infrastructure development programmes that require a huge capital outlay.
“On auditing issues, we had made progress in terms of ensuring that our accounts are up to date,” he said.