Salaries to gobble a third of Harare’s proposed $346mln budget for 2017

Salaries to gobble a third of Harare’s proposed $346mln budget for 2017

HARARE, September 30 (The Source) – Harare City Council has proposed a $345, 7 million budget for 2017, up from $343, 9 million in 2016 which will be financed by water revenue, property tax and refuse collection fees.

Acting chairperson of council’s finance committee Luckson Mukunguma, who presented the proposed budget on Thursday, said there would be no tariff increases for the main line services, the sixth consecutive year Harare has not increased tariffs.

“Your Worship, it is Council’s position that before any proposals to increase tariffs could be contemplated, the city had to first plug revenue leakages manifesting themselves as non-revenue water. Appropriate and systematic regularization of previously illegal settlements should see additional revenue accruing to the City in the form of property taxes and refuse collection fees and water charges,” said Mukunguma.

Salaries and allowances at $116, 3 million being 29, 9 percent of total expenditure while the remaining $229,2 million will go towards service delivery.

“The payroll costs will be keenly monitored on a monthly basis, with the necessary cuts being effected as and when necessary,” said Mukunguma.

The city proposed a separate $103 million capital budget, compared to $122 million for 2016. Water and sanitation take the biggest chunk accounting for $50, 9 million. Roads maintenance and refuse removal have been allocated $19, 7 million and $8,9 million respectively.

“The proposals I have highlighted above will be supported by way of $75 million borrowings while $28 million will come from internal sources.”

Mukunguma also highlighted that the city’s debtors book had ballooned from $380 million as at August 31 2015 to $526 million a year later. The council’s creditors book, which stood at $185 million last year, had gone up to $395 million.

The money is largely owed to tax agent ZIMRA, National Social Security Authority (NSSA), ZESA and the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) with whom the city has agreed settlement plans.

For 2016, revenue is seen at $343,9 million revenue with salaries taking 51 percent of total collections.

Mukunguma projected that $307 million will accrue to council as at December 31, 2016. Current collections are anticipated at $157 million with the balance expected from arrears clearance.