Loughty Dube/Susan Mateko
BULAWAYO executive mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube has dismissed claims by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that the central bank has advanced $150 billion to the local authority as a
mere political gimmick by Zanu PF. No such funds have been availed to the local authority, says the Mayor.
Ndabeni-Ncube this week told the Zimbabwe Independent that the council had not received the funds that RBZ governor, Gideon Gono, claims had been availed to the Bulawayo city council.
“As far as we are concerned, no money has been availed to the Bulawayo city council,” said Ndabeni-Ncube. “Gono has been talking about money that none of the local authorities have got yet.
“We just read about the funds in the press and we believe that all this is politicking ahead of the elections,” Ndabeni Ncube said.
Gono announced last year that local authorities would receive funding under the $10 trillion Parastatals and Local Authorities Re-Orientation Programme (PLARP).
Ndabeni-Ncube said while the money was welcome, he was against the politicisation of the funds by the ruling Zanu PF.
“We had Vice-President Joyce Mujuru over the weekend lying that Bulawayo council has not come forward to access the funds and even Gono last year told a public meeting during his monetary policy presentation in the city that local authorities were not coming forward to claim the funds when it is actually not true,” he said.
“The talk changed recently and what we hear is that we have benefited from the $50 billion availed by the RBZ but we have not received the money.
“We just read about it in the press and it ends there but the impression Gono is creating is that the Bulawayo council is not using the money wisely.”
Ndabeni-Ncube said the council did not receive any communication from the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing and from the RBZ about the cash injection.
He said the RBZ failed to raise the funds for the local authorities after the floating of the bonds failed to raise anything last week.
“We have no objection to Gono genuinely coming to the aid of local authorities but he should not play with people’s feelings by raising their hopes when nothing in effect was being done,” Ndabeni-Ncube said.
He said the alleged misinformation peddled by the RBZ Governor was putting the council in a fix, as residents want to know how the funds they read about in the press are being utilised.
Meanwhile, the government has not yet approved the Bulawayo city council budget for 2005, three months into the year.
Ndabeni-Ncube said the delay in the approval of the budget was affecting service delivery to residents.