Bulawayo Residents Throw Away Council Budget
4 November 2020
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State Media

BULAWAYO residents on Wednesday officially wrote to the local authority tabling their objection to the proposed 2021 budget noting that the process and content of the budget were flawed.

A couple of weeks ago the residents, through the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) demanded that the Bulawayo City Council avails them with a detailed financial statement for the year up to September 2020, among a host of other demands to enable them to fully appreciate the proposed 2020 supplementary budget and the 2021 budget.

The residents had up to end of day Wednesday to table their objections.

In the objection letter to the local authority, signed by BPRA coordinator, Mr Emmanuel Ndlovu, the residents expressed disappointment that to date the local authority had failed to avail the full unabridged draft 2021 budget.

They said that due to the failure by the local authority to avail the unabridged draft budget the residents were thus in no position to make an informed decision on the matter.

“We are of the opinion that the information should have been shared with residents way before the commencement of the consultations so that residents are informed and come up with meaningful contributions.

“Following the documents, we received from BCC, we have analysed the draft budget further which lends balance to the fact that both the process and content of the budget were flawed. Given the foregoing, BPRA is of the view that the budget should not be acceded and outrightly rejects the budget,” said Mr Ndlovu.

The residents further claim that the initiative of having the budget consultation meetings on Whatsapp due to the Covid-19 lockdown regulations, officials did not respond adequately to residents’ enquiries thus leading to the meetings being one sided.

“While we applaud BCC for the novel WhatsApp budget consultations in the context of imposed Covid-19 restrictions, we are of the view that the consultations were one-way as residents never had meaningful contributions. The consultations did not afford residents any meaningful room to engage.

“Some BCC staff members including some councillors who were responsible for communicating with the residents in each respective ward group were failing to answer residents’ questions with some councillors becoming emotional and personalising the process to the point of exiting WhatsApp Budget consultation groups,” said Mr Ndlovu.

Last month BCC proposed a supplementary budget of $550 792 328 and a 2021 annual budget of $16 billion.