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Gokwe Town Council proposes 29 percent domestic rates hike.

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The Gokwe Town Council has proposed a ZWL$1.1 billion budget for 2022, which will see residents` monthly bills go up by 25 to 29 percent from the current rates, a council official has said.

The local authority “flexed” its 2021 budget by a “factor of negative 50 percent to 100 percent” to come up with the 2022 tariffs, according to Tafadzwa Kwirirai, the Gokwe Town Council`s Acting Finance Director.

“In terms of high density, we have been paying ZWL$752.50 excluding VAT (value-added tax) and in 2022 we are going to increase to ZW$952 per month,” Kwirirai said. “In terms of medium density, we have been paying ZWL$837 and in 2022, ZWL$1 050, which is again a 25 percent increase. In low density, we are going to be charging ZWL$2 100 compared to ZWL$1 625 that we have been paying, that`s a 29 percent increase.”

The council targets to raise most of its internal revenue from leases, which it expected to constitute 32 percent, according to the acting finance director. He added that external funding, through intergovernmental fiscal transfers, and from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA) would constitute 22 percent.

“In terms of funding from ZINARA we are targeting ZWL$44.4m and from the government in the form of devolution we are targeting ZWL$211.4m, so that`s our budget for 2022 in summary.”  

The government since 2019 has been disbursing funds through the local government ministry to local authorities towards capital projects.

On expenditure, Kwirirai said: “From the ZWL$1.1bn budget, 14 percent will go to general expenditure, 66 percent will go to capital expenditure, 16 percent to employee costs, maintenance 1 percent and repairs 1 percent.”

Gokwe Town Council has set six programmes to be carried out under its proposed 2022 budget and these include governance and administration; water, sanitation and hygiene; social services; roads; public safety and security and natural resources and conversation.

According to the council official, on capital expenditure financing, the local authority mostly targeted road rehabilitation and expected to commit ZWL$373m in opening and maintaining the road network.

 In 2021, Gokwe Town Council received ZWL$3.4m from ZINARA and of this amount ZWL$2.7 went to ‘routine maintenance’ and ZWL$752 000 was used on the emergency road rehabilitation programme (ERRP), Kwirirai told 98.4FM News.

“Within that ZWL$3.4m, ZWL$752 000 which was targeting the new programme that was being rolled out by the central government, the programme of emergency toad rehabilitation, we financed some road works through that funding,” he said.

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