Bulawayo prepares for 2006 budget

The Bulawayo City Council, which is owed nearly $230 billion by the government and residents, is holding consultative meetings to prepare its 2006 budget.

The meetings, being held with residents and the business community, kicked off at the weekend and are scheduled to end on Sunday.

The council has scheduled meetings in all its 29 wards and met representatives of the business community, churches and various civic organisations on Tuesday.

Last year the council approved a $1.1 trillion budget, with residents expected to finance the $775 billion revenue budget, while the capital budget of $326.97 billion was to be financed from borrowings.

According to the latest council minutes, the municipality earned revenue of $274.1 billion in the first six months and spent $218.4 billion, leaving a surplus of $55.7 billion.

The council, however, pointed out that it had not paid its electricity bill for June and this would drastically reduce its surplus.

The minutes also show that there was very little capital expenditure during the period. The council only spent $9.4 billion in the first half of the year, most of it from the $12 billion public sector investment programme, with $3.7 billion coming from the government and $8.3 billion from the central bank.

But the council is now owed about the same amount it has earned. It was owed $161.9 billion by residents at the end of May, while government departments owed it $67.8 billion.

The council says it has approached legal firms in Bulawayo to help recover the huge debt. It says all the 12 legal firms it has approached have agreed to assist the municipality.

 

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