Walter Mswazie : Masvingo Correspondent
THE government has rejected Masvingo City Council’s proposed $27 million budget citing the bloated wage bill especially managers’ salaries. Sources said the proposed budget was sent to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing for approval but was returned because there was an attempt to conceal senior manager’s salaries under general expenses.
Town Clerk Adolf Gusha confirmed the rejection of the budget, but declined to shed more light over the matter.
“Yes we had our budget proposal returned by the responsible Ministry. That’s what I can say for now,” said Gusha.
Masvingo Residents Trust coordinator Prosper Tiringindi welcomed the move.
He accused the local authority of failing to consult widely during budget consultations.
Tiringindi alleged that only a few wards had the opportunity to participate in budget consultative meetings and selected people were called to represent the wards.
“We welcome the ministry’s decision to reject council’s budget. Out of ten wards, there are only less than five wards which were represented fully during the consultations. This was a deliberate ploy by the city fathers for the budget to easily sail through yet it wasn’t agreed upon by all residents,” said Tiringindi.
He said the government listened to the voice of reason as salaries chewed more than 60 percent of the total budget at the expense of service delivery.
Last year, the government sent a circular to all local authorities in the country stipulating that salaries must not chew more than 30 percent of their budgets.