By Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council presented a largely accepted $472 million 2019 budget which saw the local authority allocating more than 10 percent to water and sanitation issues which have been problematic over the years
Refuse collection and sewer blockages have given a rise in water-borne diseases with the latest being cholera in September which claimed more than 30 lives.
The city announced a capital budget of $125 981 600 and a revenue budget of $346 266 700 giving a total of $472 248 300.
Presenting the budget, Finance and Development Committee chairperson Councillor Luckson Mukunguma said the city gave priority to water, sanitation and hygiene.
He said pipe replacement and rehabilitation will be given priority in line with the aspirations of the residents and stakeholders.
Council allocated $51 856 200 to water and sanitation of which $3 million is for the rehabilitation of Morton Jaffray and Prince Edward Water Works while $10 million is earmarked for a water pipe replacement programme with another $10 million set aside for wastewater pipe replacement.
The Gletwyn Water Supply Project, which is expected to cure the water woes of Borrowdale and surrounding areas, was allocated $3 million, Morton Jaffray filter replacement $1 million, prepaid water meters $4,5 million.
Harare, which last year purchased 30 refuse trucks, is set to purchase 15 more at a cost of $3 million as well as 10 tipper trucks (refuse collection) $2 million, street, skip and underground bins $400 000, disposal sites $1 million, one front-end loader $300 000, two bulldozers $500 000, one landfill compactor $300 000, and other equipment $2,6 million.
It allocated $300 000 for farms infrastructure where treated sewer is used to water cattle feed.
The city also expects to get the remaining $72,2 million, being part of the US$144 Chinese loan, in 2019 to boost allocations to the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programmes.
The $51,9 million funding allocated to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Programmes will be funded by loans $44 million and revenue contribution to capital outlay $7,9 million.
From the budget a huge chunk, however, goes to salaries which accounts for $141 million.
City corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme yesterday justified the city’s budget saying it addresses residents’ needs, especially water and sanitation, which he said were sufficiently addressed.
“From the revenue budget $141 million is for salaries. Part of our salary bill is also service delivery. You have to understand that due to the various services we provide we have many workers most of whom are service delivery focused,” he said.
Mr Chideme said the money set aside for water and sanitation will go a long way in addressing infrastructure deficits in that area adding that council with its partners Higher Life and Liquid Telecom have already attended to 10 of the major spots in the western suburbs and council would seek further help to attend to other areas.
Concern has also been raised over council’s meagre $8,5 million budget for roads given the state of the city’s roads. However, Mr Chideme said the money was part of the city’s contribution only as council largely relied on Zinara in terms of road rehabilitation and resealing.
Of the $13 711 900 allocated to public safety the city will install and commission a traffic management system and solar street lighting system next year at a cost of $10 million.
Tow trucks will be purchased at a cost of $800 000, purchase of 24 enforcement vehicles for the CBD and districts $800 000, purchase of six sedan B trucks, 30 motorcycles and one tow vehicle $810 000
The sources of funding for the Public Safety and Security Programme are loans ($6,4 million), revenue contribution to capital outlay ($2,3 million) and joint venture ($5 million).
The Governance and Administration Programme will be funded to the tune of $31 032 300.
The Governance and Administration Programme is a cluster of departments that provide governance and administrative support in council.
The ICT Division was allocated the chunk of the funds after being allocated $23 million with the city saying it has a desire to be a systems-driven organisation and in line with the transformational agenda.
Loans will contribute $25,1 million while revenue contribution to capital outlay will chip in with $5,9 million .
The City Projects projected total income amounting of US$346,3 million up from $262 million in 2018.
Refuse collection will account for $27,08 million, parks and cemeteries $400 000, operations $55,2 million, finance sundry $3,3 million, ambulance and fire fees $6,32 million, rates $104,9 million, health fees $5,1, sundry fees $4,5 million, Harare Water $100,8 million and City Architect $10,9 million.
Valuation and Estates will chip in with $180 000, housing welfare and education $7,07 million, estates $3,90 million, informal sector $1,90 million and others $5 million.