Walter Nyamukondiwa and Obert Siamilandu
KARIBA Municipality has proposed a $54 million budget, underpinned by massive investment in capital projects such as water augmentation and sewer system upgrade.
The proposal will see a steep increase in rates and other service charges of between 200 and 600 percent.
Speaking at a budget formulation meeting recently, Housing, Community Services and Health director Mr Godfrey Magijani said the rates were calculated on the basis of the 2017 valuation roll.
“The valuation roll differentiates what people are supposed to pay on the basis of the value of the properties. It is done scientifically, but we are cognisant of the circumstances that people are faced with on the ground,” he said. “For Kariba we had to make some changes. So for rates and other charges we have simply said that they will rise by about 500 percent for high density suburbs such as Mahombekombe and Nyamhunga while low density areas like Heights and Mica Point an increase of 600 percent has been proposed.”
He said planning for the coming year was very difficult owing to the inflationary pressures currently bedevilling the country.
Residents widely accepted the budget proposals with fewer objections than in previous years largely because of the wide consultations in the formulation process.
“The year 2008 was slightly not as difficult as it now because during that period people had been used to hyper-inflation and currently we are still afraid of figures despite the fact that the environment remains volatile,” said Mr Magijani.
“Some had their own views concerning the issue on tariffs, but we could not do anything as we are guided by policies from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development as well as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”
Kariba Urban Residents’ Association (KURA) representative Cephas Shonhiwa commended the proposal, but said they needed more feedback from residents.
“We commend the proposal by Kariba Municipality, but as an association we will take it back to residents for further guidance,” said Mr Shonhiwa.
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions representative (ZFTU) Mr Rhodes Madyira Kudawafeva said as a union, they hoped that the adjustment in the tariff structures would also lead to the review of workers’ salaries that have been eroded by inflation.
“The economy is not stable as you can see and as a union we have been tasked by Government to make sure we contribute towards improving the welfare of the employees through making sure an employee gets a better salary that will push him to work hard and increase production, therefore we hope the review of tariffs will also affect the salary structure positively,” he said.
Kariba Municipality is looking at ways recovering over $14 million owed by residents and other ratepayers including corporates, who account for the biggest chunk of the debt.