BULAWAYO – The Bulawayo City Council (BCC), which is in the process of crafting a budget for 2019 recently, had a special consultative meeting specifically targeted at young people in the city.
To improve service delivery, usually hampered by limited revenue, BCC is proposing to increase fixed charges on water and sewer in the $212 million 2019 budget.
If approved, residents residing in the low density suburbs will next year be paying $3.00 up from $2.23 for this year while those in townships will be paying $2 up from $1.26 for their fixed sewer charges.
For water, residents in the low density areas would be paying $2 up from $1.04 while those in high density areas would be paying $1.50 up from $0.52.
Fees for a standard grave are also set to increase from $37 to $63 next year should the proposed budget sail through.
The youths who gathered at the Large City Hall for the consultative meeting, the first of its kind targeting such a demographic group, challenged the local authority to provide youth friendly services in 2019, adding they would want 2018 priorities to be maintained next year.
The priorities in their order of importance, chosen by residents last year, are water, health, sewage, housing, roads, education, public lighting, social services and fire and ambulance. Phineas Sibanda(26), of Emakhandeni,hailed the initiative by BCC to consult them separately as young people.
“This is my first time to attend such a meeting. There are some things in which we have been left out as young people. Views of elderly people have been parcelled to us and most of the cases it would not be what we want. This tends to stifle development,” said Sibanda.
Another youth, Ishmael Banda of Njube, appealed to the local authority to remain open to more submissions from the youth before the budget is approved for it to be holistic and representative.
BCC Senior Public Relations Officer, Nesisa Mpofu, paid tribute to the youth for coming to the meeting, adding they were important stakeholders in the city; hence they saw it fit to get their views as well.
ZDDT enjoys are productive MoU with the city’s administration and the spirit of consultation emanates from the trust’s leadership programme.