SMALL CITY HALL – ZDDT Community Action Team (CAT) members drawn from across Bulawayo, recently discussed budget priorities for 2019, ahead of the City Council’s consultation meetings.
From the weekend, Bulawayo City Council will roll out the 2019 budget consultation meetings in all the 29 wards in the city, with a view to getting stakeholders’ input.
At a Zone Meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Development Democracy Trust (ZDDT) at the Small City Hall, community leaders tackled issues that require emphasis in next year’s budget.
For the past three years, Bulawayo has prioritised water, health, sewer reticulation, housing, roads and public lighting in that order as a direct consequence of the consultation process.
Discussants agreed that water should always be prioritised as it is needed daily for both domestic and industrial use.
“In coming up with priorities for next year’s budget, we must identify important issues that will develop Bulawayo,” said Lameck Ncube of Ward 5.
He said there was no need for people to involve politics when discussing issues of national importance such as the budget.
Obert Mpofu, one of the participants, said, in future, the local authorities should also make sure that minority voices are considered when drawing out budget priorities.
He cited the issue of street lighting which while may not be a priority in townships, is prioritised by residents residing in low density suburbs.
Turning to the 3 percent retention fund, CAT members said it was important that the fund be suburb-based to ensure that suburbs which pay more than others are fully rewarded.
Earlier on, Vusumuzi Chirwa, ZDDT Field Officer who facilitated the dialogue, read Mayor Solomon Mguni’s inauguration speech for the gathering.
He later on explained that ZDDT looked forward to creating a platform for engagement between residents and their newly-elected representatives. Councillors are set to begin their work in earnest following their recent induction.
ZDDT enjoys a productive MoU with the city’s administration.