Francistown City councillors on Wednesday morning approved a slashed budget proposal for the 2018/19 financial year after it was presented to them by Finance Committee Chairperson, Zibanani Benifield.
Presenting the budget for approval, Benifield, who is also Councillor for Botsalano Ward, noted that the City Of Francistown had adjusted its budget at the advice of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.
The city had originally proposed a budget of just under P228 million which they had to cut down to slightly over P223 million.
The council also had to drop its Revenue Support Grant from close to P185 million down to just over P180 million.
“Readjustments have been proposed so that our proposals conform to the tentative ceilings as advised in the communiqué from the Ministry,” Benifield told her colleagues.
She went on to explain that the proposed budget will cover council personnel expenses, the maintenance of street and traffic lights as well as helping the destitute.
On another note, Benifield said the reduced budget will not affect the city’s priority areas as long as there is “prudent financial administration, improved collection of revenue arrears, continued pursuit of new money making ways and improved project management and procurement.”
However, some councillors, amongst them former city mayor Peter Ngoma, had reservations about the proposed budget, arguing that it is insufficient.
“The budget is okay but as the second city we should be getting more money,” Ngoma said and proposed that Francistown should look at other councils’ budget and use the figures as a guide when drawing budget proposals in future.
“I think the budget allocation is not fair as some sub councils get more money than us and that is why I think studying other local authorities budget will help us draw better budgets in future,” Ngoma added.
Benifield promised such information would be sought to guide future proposals.