Council’s ten percent retention scheme got off to a disappointing start as a number of wards are still to get their share of funds from last year. According to councillors who spoke to Harare News, some wards are yet to access the funds, while others have received only part payment.
In 2014, Council approved a resolution that allowed each ward to retain ten per cent of all collected revenue deducted from the rates that residents of each ward pay to council. Councillors and district officers were authorized to set-up ward development committees to administer the fund.
The city is said to have collected a total of $160.5 million from all of Harare’s 46 wards in 2015. This means that $16 million is due to be divided between each ward as part of the ten per cent retention scheme. However, Ward 18 councillor and member of the business committee, Allan Markham, disclosed that City of Harare (CoH) has so far only given out $1.5 million.
Markham says $15 million remains to be distributed to the wards as part of their share to fund projects spear-headed by their local councillor.
“The process is very slow. City management is making it very difficult for councillors to access the funds,” said Markham.
“On the other hand, city management seems to favour certain areas more than others. So far we have only received $10,000 out of the $66,000 my area was supposed to get last year,” added Markham.
Markham says the delays have affected his projects as three tonnes of tar lie in wait for the next stage of resurfacing badly damaged roads in his ward.
Councillor Gilbert Hadebe Chamhanga of Dzivarasekwa (Ward 25) who is also repairing roads in Ward 18, expressed dismay with the progress at which he can access resources under the allocated ten percent for his ward. He explained that he managed to have some sections of road repaired but he is concerned with the slow pace the project is taking to complete as he received his last consignment of tar in December.
However, Councillor Oddrey Chirombeof Budiriro 1, 2, and 3 disagrees saying, “Significant changes are being seen in my ward.” Chirombe reports that his ward has used its ten percent share to refurbish boreholes and install 5,000 litre water tanks to allow people to have access to water as well as installing solar-powered streets lights.
Councillor Munyaradzi Kufahakutizwi represents Mabvuku (Ward 19), one of Harare’s driest suburbs which has incessant water problems. Kufahakutizwi applied for his ward’s ten percent share in November last year and is still waiting for the $10,000 his ward was due to receive to begin a project to drill two boreholes in his ward. Unfortunately, a new District Officer was appointed before anything could be processed. He says he contacted the new District Officer earlier last month who agreed to forward his application to the city finance department for disbursement.