‘Budget must address issues of concern’

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views


Diana Nherera Suburban Reporter

Harare Mayor Councillor Jacob Mafume says he met Local Government and Public Works Minister Winston Chitando this week where he reiterated the call to action as directed by President Mnangagwa.

The local authorities’ blueprint launched by the  President last year outlines the tasks and sets out interventions to get local authorities to improve service delivery.

Speaking at Thursday’s full council meeting, Clr Mafume said Harare’s budget must address major issues of concern as highlighted in the call to action.

“Before that we had an extraordinary communication from the minister that our budget has not been approved and that we had to work on the things that were outlined.

“Other councils’ budgets have been approved with conditions and detailed analysis, but ours was rejected outright. It was so huge of an impact that the minister thought it was important to explain himself and come to an agreement as to what should be done.

“Accordingly, we have agreed with the minister that on the 19th of April, we would have dealt with the issues that have been raised,” he said.

Clr Mafume said the issues of concern centred around the billing system.

“The letter was specific that we have to follow the Auditor-General’s recommendations, Parliament’s recommendations and now the minister’s letter with recommendations to reinstate the ERP (billing system).

“And it was clear that we were not going anywhere without the ERP and that we needed this ERP,” he said.

The minister, the mayor said, was also worried about the audited accounts, the unavailability of the latest accounts and comments that have been made in the accounts of 2017, 2018, 2019 and the steps taken to address anomalies.

Minister Chitando said the budget should capture water issues and assistance the city requires to deal with debtors.

“The city must work towards what it’s owed and so forth. Government must develop service delivery standards in all councils,” said Clr Mafume.

He said other critical issues include regular interface meetings between the City of Harare and Government.

“The city should do a self assessment before sending back the budget to the ministry. Workshops must be limited and we must streamline and prioritise service delivery,” said Clr Mafume.

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