HARARE – The Harare City Council has approved a ZW$4,5 billion 2020 budget which will see residents forking out more for water, sewer and refuse collection as the city fathers reiterated that if the crunching economic challenges persist, there will be more increases.
In the budget, which has been themed “New Hope:Towards a Smart City”, capital and revenue estimates stand at ZW$1,6 billion and ZW$2,9 billion respectively.
Presenting the budget at Town House on Tuesday afternoon, Finance and Development Committee Chairperson Councillor Luckson Mukunguma said: “although we have tried to reasonably adjust our tariffs and fees, we hope the macro-economic environment will not force us to readjust our fees as we try to provide services in a constrained fiscal space.”
He added that failure to tame inflation at national level, may result in readjustments.
“We made those projections but who knows what the economy will be like in March. We are saying they may be need to then engage residents because if inflation hits new highs, council will be the residents’ last priority,” he said.
Residents in high density suburbs will pay ZW$20 for less than 5 cubic meters of water up from ZW$5.10. Between five and 10 cubic meters, residents will pay ZW$24 up from ZW$6, while between 10 and 20 cubic meters, residents will pay ZW$27 up from ZW$7 and for anything more than 20 cubic meters residents will pay ZW$35 up from ZW$9.
Those in low density suburbs will pay ZW$25 for less than 5 cubic meters of water up from ZW$6.10. For between 5 and 10 cubic meters residents will pay ZW$29 up from ZW$7, while between 10 and 20 cubic meters residents will pay ZW$33 up from ZW$8 and more than 20 meters residents will pay ZW$41 up from ZW$10.
Five cubic meters of water is equivalent to 25 drums and each drum carries 200 litres.
Sewer charges per fitment high density suburbs residents will pay ZW$41 up from ZW$16.76, low density will pay ZW$91 up from ZW$33.06.
Refuse collection for high density suburbs will be ZW$28 up from ZW$24 while low density will pay ZW$42 up from ZW$36.
All proposed increases are effective January 1 next year.
He added that despite the increases, the budget was meant to give “hope” to the residents as it will enable them to transform Harare into a smart city.
He said that under the current harsh economic environment, Harare City Council had fought to stay afloat and to provide services to residents and other rate payers.
“Your Worship, the presentation of the 2020 budget is taking place at a time when the World Bank downgraded Zimbabwe into a low-income country, which confirms the dire economic straits in our nation.
“The country is battling triple-digit inflation and a power crisis. Fuel prices surge weekly, and disposable incomes continue to shrink. The country is also contending with a foreign exchange shortage that has seen the local currency free falling against the greenback.
“The prevailing macro-economic environment has posed serious challenges for the City and we have had to battle to remain afloat.
“We are sympathetic to the residents of Harare, who are facing many challenges because of the economic conditions prevailing in the country,” added Cllr Mukunguma.