Victoria Falls residents have vowed to block the local government’s 2022 budget consultation meetings scheduled to be held before the municipality avails an approved supplementary budget for this year.
The local council’s 2021 budget has been a source of contention between residents and the local authority as ratepayers complain the city authorities were inconsiderate.
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The 2021 proposed budget was more than $1,3 billion but has since been reviewed downwards after the residents successfully petitioned Local Government Minister July Moyo to force for new consultations which were done mid-year.
This resulted in a supplementary budget that is still with the Local Government Ministry and is yet to be approved.
Residents argue the 2021 supplementary budget will have no effect as only three months are left before the year ends.
Residents want the local council to implement the supplementary budget in retrospect from last January when the local authority imposed hefty rates and bills which sparked outrage. Said a resident:
We have been tricked for a long time, so, now we are not going to allow this to happen again. You made us believe that a supplementary budget had been done and now you want us to go forward before dealing with the issue of the 2021 budget. Let’s stop these meetings until the supplementary budget comes.
Speaking at one of the meetings at Mosi High School, the city’s finance director Nevile Ndlovu warned of repercussions associated with waiting for the supplementary budget without starting the process of doing a new one. Ndlovu said:
Remember there are timelines set for the budget-making process and if we fail to budget in time that means the council will not be able to do services.
Local authorities are expected to have submitted their 2022 budgets for approval by the Local Government Ministry by November and have them approved by December 31.