BY RUTENDO MATANHIKE
The Local Government ministry is bidding for $7 billion in next year’s national budget, acting permanent secretary Joseph Mhakayakora told Parliament yesterday.
Mhakayakora told the Rutendo Chikukwa-chaired Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing that the ministry had eight programmes among them policy and administration, spatial planning, local governance, construction, maintenance of public buildings, disaster risk management, national housing delivery, devolution and traditional leaders’ support services.
“The grand total budget we require is $6 879 529 000,” he said.
Topical during the presentation was the water treatment plants rehabilitation and reticulation which fall under the local governance programme, which the ministry’s principal director for urban local authorities, Erica Jones said required approximately $900 million.
“We need $900 million to provide clean water to all urban settlements. We are looking at rehabilitating and extending waterworks and reticulation so that every household is on reticulated water system. We are also looking into the matter of producing water chemicals locally,” she said.
Shamva North legislator Oscar Gorerino quizzed Jones on whether the budget for water reticulation and rehabilitation of water treatment plants would be enough given that there had been an increase in urban population.
“My question is on water, which the report says requires $900 million which seems to be not enough as it will come down to something like US$70 million.
Looking at the fact that most of the water treatment plants were built in the 1950s and most of them have not been expanded considering that the population has increased, is the requirement you are presenting before us going to be enough considering that rehabilitation and expansion of a single water treatment plant can cost up to US$50 million and you are only requesting $900 million local currency?”
In response, Jones told the committee that Harare alone would require close to US$3 billion, but as a ministry they had written down costs to levels they believe Treasury would be able to avail to them.