Harare residents poo-poo 2018 budget

​Harare residents have written letter to mayor Bernard Manyenyeni

Hard-pressed Hararians have rubbished the Harare City Council's ambitious 2018 budget, pegged at a staggering $269 million amid a typhoid outbreak spawned by heaps of uncollected garbage and spewing raw sewerage, pot-holed roads, dry taps, among a litany of problems due to lack of efficient service delivery.
In a voluminous letter addressed to Harare mayor, Bernard Manyenyeni dated 1 November 2017, Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) chief executive officer Mfundo Mlilo, urged residents and ratepayers to reject the budget as it failed to capture the concerns of key stakeholders.
The budget was tabled before full council on 18 October by Finance committee chairperson, councillor Luckson Mukunguma for debate and adoption.
Mlilo said CHRA had reservations on the proposed budget as there was secrecy regards performance of the previous 2017 estimates.
"We would like to bring to your attention that our analysis remains very limited as we have failed to access income and expenditure statements to review the performance of 2017 budget. The Board and members of CHRA have resolved to reject the 2018 budget as it falls far short of addressing major concerns raised in the recently concluded 2018 budget consultations," he said.
In a supposed response in the media, councillor Mukunguma, representing mayor Bernard Manyenyeni, said there was need for residents to fund the budget, so that the local authority delivers as per the residents' expectations.
CHRA said it had completed its analysis of the 2018 budget and its basis to poo-poo the budget was on that the consultation process was flawed and did not meet the standards that allow for effective participation for the major stakeholder, the residents.
Further wrote Mlilo, "Many of the meetings were poorly attended, cancelled due to short notices and poor communication with communities. Consultations are the bedrock of budgeting for the local authorities. They are the single most important process of influencing the spending priorities of the city. If the consultations are faulty, this presents serious accountability issues that prevent the council from effective revenue management. We are of the view that many voices of the citizens remain uncaptured in the 2018 budget process. This is in violation of circular number 3 of 2012 issued by the Minister of Local Government, seeking to promote effective citizen participation."
CHRA also raised concern over council's bloated salaries and wages bill.
"We note with concern that the presented budget has failed to comply with the ministerial directive on the management of service delivery and administration costs, that is, the 70/30 principle. The budget proposes a salaries and admin budget of $116, 6million about 44 percent of the total budget. This is completely unacceptable considering the current state of service delivery. Considering that human resources costs are generally static and in consideration of current collection rates, this translates to about $9, 5 million a month against an average a monthly collection rate of $ 13million. Salaries and administration costs are gobbling a huge chunk of funds meant for development purposes. There are no clear proposals to deal with this sad situation. In the past, we have proposed a human resource audit which remains a proposal." LOCAL

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