The central government has refused Bulawayo City Council’s ZWL$23 billion budget for 2022 on grounds that it allocated a massive 44% of the total budget on salaries, a figure which exceeds the recommended limit of 30%.
According to the rejected budget Ward 1, residents were expected to pay an estimated $12 146 per month, Ward 2 $5806, Ward 3 and 5 $8 025, Ward 4 10 878, Ward 6 $7 391 and Ward 7 3451.
Ward 8, 20, 11, 12, 14, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26 and 27 would pay $3578.
However, residents, through the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association, objected to the new charges arguing that they were exorbitant.
This led to minimal reductions in charges by the council.
The $24 billion budget was reduced to $23 billion, while rates increases were revised downwards to 200% from 216%.
However, that has not been enough as the government has cited the issues to do with salaries.
The rejection of the new budget by the government creates room for hope for the aggrieved residents.
It means residents will continue paying rates from 2021 until a new budget is submitted and approved.
Local government authorities often cite underfunding as the major reason behind the rampant poor delivery of public goods and services.
More: Open Council Bulawayo