VICTORIA FALLS commenced its 2021 budget formulation process with consultative meetings aimed at gathering input from residents and stakeholders.
As part of the process, the meetings were held across the 11 of the town’s wards with a special interest group meeting also set aside to have an inclusive insight in the input gathering exercise by the Local Authority.
In his 2020 budget performance review, Council Treasurer Neville Ndlovu pointed to the economic challenges compounded by the COVID 19 pandemic which led to the closure of most businesses, thereby affecting revenue streams for the Local Authority.
“The COVID 19 pandemic affected the global economy where besides the loss of life, the pandemic led to the disruption of trade, tourism, production, supply chain and other integration channels,” he said.
The consultative meetings brought all critical segments of the community together in pursuit of one common goal, which is the development of the resort town.
Mayor of the town His Worship Councillor Somveli Dhlamini encouraged residents to unite behind the development of the town despite diverse views.
“As a cosmopolitan town, we have diverse people with diverse views, but the most important thing is to agree on a workable solution for the good of the city.
“With that in mind, let us take this opportunity to share ideas on how the town can continue functioning and restore its status as a prime destination in the continent,” added Dhlamini.
Residents echoed the need to upgrade sporting facilities to increase recreational and entertainment.
Amongst the major highlights was the need to add another Council to run a secondary school at the Mkhosana to cater to the growing demand from the area.
The Local Authority has insisted on priority projects whose major thrust is to complement the growing tourism industry, and vast residential areas demand, however, progress is usually inhibited by little revenue received.
The 2020 budget stood at ZWL$305,381,593.14 with little traction gained given the unpredicted prices and dangerous escalation of the US dollar rates against the ZWL.
Some residents urged the Local Authority to adopt a dual pricing system to curtail the impact of inflation.
Central Government has since introduced the Dutch auction system aimed at bringing stability to the rates.
Residents were also of the sentiments that Victoria Falls should also benefit from local natural resources and commended Council for continuing to deliver essential services despite the challenges.