By Andile Mvundla
Economists have stepped forward to challenge the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to avoid relying on rates paid by citizens as the backbone to sustain and support the local authority’s funding to develop the city.
Speaking during the 2022 Budget Consultation Analysis meeting which was held at Bulawayo Club and hosted by the Women’s Institute for Leadership and Development (WILD) , Ntokozo Tshuma an economist said the local authority should embrace other ways of revenue generation in order to boost funding and improve service delivery.
“When we say the local authority should diversify their revenue , we are basing on models that we see applied by other similar cities which also co-exist in harsh economic environments like ours.
If you look at other cities like the City of Johannesburg their fiscus is not heavily relying on the rate payers they have diversified revenue streams and opened up investment opportunities through transport business and electricity generating plant which are contributing to the fiscus.
What we are saying also with our local authority is that we need to do away with the traditional model of local authority financing were we are relying on rate payers as the source of revenue ” .
Speaking during the same meeting , economist who is also a National University of Science and Technology (NUST) Economics lecturer , Stevenson Dlamini , highlighted that there is a need for BCC to also reduce expenses by seeking university institutions’ assistance on analysis and carrying out researches on certain different agendas.
“Financial variation is now the key nowadays that is were our drive should be when it comes to innovation . There are a lot of academic researches at NUST and MSU but uptake of these is so low . Let us explore these synergies and make use of them”.
Bulawayo City Council is yet to provide a comment on the expansion of services to raise funds from diverse areas.
BCC is currently depending on the rates paid by consumers as its main source of revenue generation to obtain funds for service maintenances.
In its budget for the upcoming year the local authority has projected a revenue budget pegged at ZWL$ 16,834,864,215 and the capital budget at ZWL$ 7,906,290,288 bringing the total budget to ZWL$24,741,154,503 .The budget will result in an almost 200% hike in tariffs for rat