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    Friday, 11 March 2016

    Masvingo budget rejected


    – The 2016 financial budget for the embattled Masvingo City Council has been thrown out owing to a bloated wage bill particularly at managerial level, The Mirror has gathered.
    Masvingo City Council which is battling to pay salaries for workers is fighting a $3,5 million labour dispute in the courts with more than 43 vehicles attached and rotting at the messenger of court's yards.
    Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing recently expressed grave concern at the millions of dollars worth of attached
    equipment which has wasted away to the extent that it is no longer usable.
    Sources said Masvingo's $27m budget has been sent back to the forwarder because there was an attempt to conceal senior managers' salaries under general expenses.
    Both the town clerk, Adolf Gusha and the Mayor, Hubert Fidze have confirmed the position but declined to comment on the reasons for the rejection of the budget.
    However, Fidze told The Mirror that last year's budget was returned again and only approved in May. All budgets for Town Council Masvingo Province have been approved except Chiredzi.
    The Chiredzi budget was also dismissed because management prioritised luxury vehicles at the expense service delivery trucks.
    What is even surprising is that most Masvingo councillors are not aware of the rejection of the budget or the reason thereof.
    The two residents' associations MURRA and MRT that must also represent residents in local authority matters expressed ignorance on the rejection of the budget.
    Sources said salaries for Masvingo City remain bloated with council proposing a wage bill that is above the 30 percent threshold of the total budget set by Government.
    One bone of contention has been Gusha's salary which at one time was said to be above $10 000 plus a plethora of allowances. Gusha has refused to disclose his salary despite calls to do so.
    All public servants' salaries in Zimbabwe including President Mugabe's are a matter of public interest and are therefore in the public domain. It is therefore inconceivable why a town clerk's conditions of service should remain private.
    "Masvingo City budget has not been approved because there were some grey areas especially on senior staff salaries which were listed as general expenses," said an official.
     "Our budget is still with the ministry and there has not been any communication regarding its approval, we are still waiting," said Gusha.
    Mutare City Council Town Clerk, Obert Muzavazi had to resign in a huff after an audit by the Ministry unearthed a lot of irregularities concerning the issue of salaries and general expenses which were deposited into individual accounts.
    In 2014 the ministry ordered a cut in most senior council officials' salaries which were gobbling a big chunk of the budget at the expense of service delivery to the residence.local news
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