Francistown City Council’s efforts to transform the city into an economic hub and a gateway to the rest of African nations such as Zambia, Zimbabwe and the Democratic Republic of Congo got off to a shaky start.
This came to the fore during an address by Finance and General Purpose Committee Chairman Lesego Kwambala last Friday morning.
Kwambala said in line with the country’s vision 2036, their primary goal is to transform Francistown, a need and mission derived from their hardships in the city.
The Itekeng ward Councillor said they have to ensure that future generations do not face the same challenges being experienced by Francistown today.
“If they do, we can safely say we have betrayed our mission,” he said.
The youthful legislator said in preparing the budget they prioritized key areas they deemed critical to the transformation agenda, which are branding of the city and Local Economic Development (LED).
The total budget proposal for the financial year 2020/21 is P231 449 000, a nominal increase of 5 percent from the 2019/20 proposed budget.
However 60.3% of the budget (P139 821 020) goes to salaries, overtimes and pension contributions, leaving FCC with P92 027 980 to tackle their priorities.
Kwambala further lamented that the remaining money will also go to payment of utilities, bills at primary schools and maintenance of council infrastructure. “We’re therefore left with no budget for branding of the city and to support the LED strategy; the two items that can without a doubt lead us to the transformational path we’re dreaming of,” he said.
Kwambala said this calls for innovation, reduction of costs where necessary and increased revenues when opportunities for such present themselves.
Kwambala said collection of revenue should be placed at the top of their agenda, with such initiatives as house to house campaigns, letters of demand to defaulters, publication of defaulters’ names and short message services (sms).
“At the end of the day, Francistowners are the solution; everyone should be engaged and play a part. Our efforts, focus and energy should be towards winning and transforming this city,” concluded Kwambala.