MASVINGO- Residents have implored the local authority to give number one priority to service delivery as the city is mulling 2022 budgets consultations which are expected to be rolled out soon.
The city has been facing a plethora of problems including water woes, poor refuse collection and sewage bursts which have been haunting the city for a long period.
Masvingo Mayor Councilor Collen Maboke said budget consultations were delayed by Covid-19 regulations but promised that the local authority will release the schedule soon.
“We could have started 2022 budget consultations by now but due to tight lockdown restrictions we had to shelve them. Consultations will start soon and we will announce dates once we are done as council,” said Maboke.
Masvingo Residents Forum (MRF) chairperson, Brighton Ramusi however implored council not to notify residents on the 11th hour ahead of consultations.
“Firstly, we would want council to inform us on the dates for the budget consultations a week before the intended date so that residents come in their numbers. We also want council to give us the budget after it’s done so that we can also scrutinize it,” said Ramusi.
Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson, Godfrey Mtimba said council has to consult residents when carrying out budget consultations and follow dictates of the law.
“As residents we feel that council should do effective budgets consultations by moving in each ward and asking residents on what they want to be included in the budget.
“Council should consider the Abuja Declaration that requires every country or institution to set aside 15 percent of its total budget to health because our health system, our local clinics are deteriorating and we do not have adequate medication,” said Mtimba.
Another residents’ pressure group, Masvingo Service Delivery Residents and Ratepayers Association (MASDRA) secretary general, Moses Mavhusa said the budget must account for hard currency transactions.
“The budget must include revenue being received in forex. As residents we must know how these funds are being accounted for. The revenue being generated from market stands should be transparently accounted for leaving no room for corruption,” said Mavhusa.
In 2020, the local authority hiked rates by over 500 percent for the year 2021, a move which did not go well with residents.