Francistown City Council (FCC) has proposed P284, 107, 200 as its budget for the 2019/2020 financial year. Francistown which has over the years experienced sluggish developments is currently reeling through economic challenges which were aggravated by the closure of mines in its vicinity two years ago. The second city is also grappling with issues of unemployment, poverty and crime.
Presenting the proposed budget during a special full council meeting convened last week Friday, the Finance Committee Chairperson at FCC, Zibanani Benfield who is also a councilor for Botsalano ward made it clear that while the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development had provided guidance in preparing this budget, they as the city council also incorporated their priorities.
“During this budget preparations we considered issues we deem as limitations to our service delivery thus formed our priorities and they include, maintenance of our facilities, staff houses, offices, roads and allied infrastructure, provision for the vulnerable communities, provision for high utility bills such as the newly introduced prepaid power for streetlights and provision of education requirements at primary schools,” she said.
Benfield further said they catered for the emergency issues such as Ipelegeng running costs, prepaid electricity for streetlights, transfer values for officers’ pension and terminal benefits for councilors. She also added that the budget proposal catered for other priorities such as security of their facilities, procurement of ICT for their office and branding of Francistown among others.
“It is against this background that the budget proposal was formulated. All the council structures also had the opportunity to interrogate the budget of all the departments to ensure that it clearly captures their needs as adequately as possible on the given guidance,” she added.
Explaining the budget allocation further she said it is made of personnel emoluments at P124, 664, 750(7percent), Running costs (P88, 404, 680(86 percent), Establishment Expenses at P18, 968, 470 (12 percent) and Special Expenses at P52, 069, 300 (18 percent). She also revealed that in order to finance this budget, the council proposes to raise an income of P39, 729, 150 from its establishment sources of revenue while it requests P244, 378,050 as Revenue Support Grant from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
“In line with our major priorities, departments that are responsible for the maintenance of our infrastructure such as Civil, Mechanical and Architecture and Buildings have been given a lion’s share of our budget so as to actualize our priority as well as the other departments that offer services in our priority hierarchy,” she said.
She said the, Architecture and Buildings department was allocated P36, 296,380, Civil and mechanical P71, 341,000, Education P24, 705, 170 and the Social and Community Development P19, 440, 680. Benfield said following discussions during committee meetings, comments were raised and have been duly incorporated. Benfield pleaded with the councilors and FCC staff to assist in improving the financial management by being prudent and efficient in budget execution. She also said that it is crucial for the city council to explore other avenues of extending or expanding their revenue sources so as to effectively carry out service delivery mandates.
However after the presentation most of the councilors were happy with the proposed budget but suggested that there is need for the city council to buckle its efforts in raising its own income to supplement the tight budget. They also agreed that it is high time that the city council devises effective methods to collect money owned by the public in the form of rates and service levies. The councilors also agreed in conclusion that it is important for FCC to be prudent in its spending and unnecessary costs to be able to achieve its mandate of serving the people.
The budget proposal will be discussed with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development meeting on the 31st July 2018 in Palapye. Francistown Mayoress Sylvia Muzila will lead a delegation from the city council to attend the meeting.