Beitbridge Municipality has started engaging stakeholders on budget and policy implementation issues with a view to increasing its revenue collection capacity to fully implement planned capital projects.
Town Clerk Mr Loud Ramakgapola said the local authority was only collecting 30 percent of its targeted revenue.
He said the situation had been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has knocked ratepayers’ finances.
Mr Ramakgapola said they were looking at increasing the revenue collection capacity to over 60 percent. He said most of the money they have received was from last year’s collections.
“We have received funding from the Commonwealth to engage in sensitisation workshops with stakeholders to improve on issues of corporate governance had civic participation,” said Mr Ramakgapola.
“Our idea is to have these meeting with sectors of our community. Among those we are engaging are the youths, residents and business associations, vendor and informal traders. After discussing with these groups, we will then have ward based meeting where we will then meet the community members in general.”
He said the level of civic participation on council programmes was very low among most stakeholders and hence there was need to bring everyone to a round table and agree on a work plan.
Mr Ramakgapola said it was important for them to involve every stakeholder so that they may develop the town with one shared vision.
He said they intended to maximise consultations on all people projects in line with the modern way of doing business.
“If we educate more stakeholders on the council processes on civic participation, we can grow our revenue base, improve on accountability and review processes in areas where we are not doing well,” he said.
In January, the local authority adopted a $90 million budget for 2020 with most rates and services tariffs increasing by over 250 percent.
Water tariffs were revised upwards by an average of 866 percent in tandem with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority’s (ZINWA) revised tariff for intermediate consumers in September 2019.
According to the budget statement, the municipality is expecting a total income of $89 950 491,46 and a total expenditure of $89 767 483,91 with a surplus of $183 007,55.
Some of the planned capital projects were; roads and storm water drainages, stands servicing, refuse compactor, bus terminus, Vhembe lab, paving, public toilet, primary school construction, sewer upgrade, recreational park, public lighting, motor vehicles and earthmoving equipment (grader, bowser, and tipper).