OMUTHIYA - The Omuthiya Town Council presented its N$88.59 million budget for 2021/22, representing a 37% increase compared to N$64.55 million in the previous financial year.
The budget aims to accelerate growth, although the council is irked by the slow pace of construction by stakeholders, including the government.
The sharp increase was attributed to increasing general operating expenses, which rose from N$47 million to N$74 million, as well as capital expenditure that escalated from N$16 million to N$38 million.
The council says it has provided hundreds of plots to government institutions as well as investors and private individuals to develop, but to date, they have not developed anything.
Council said if this stagnation persists, despite many reminders, such land will soon be returned to the council for reallocation.
“Omuthiya is a fast-growing town with a significant number of infrastructure development being observed in terms of serviced land as well as physical structures,” said mayor John Ndeutepo.
“Huge investments have been made in servicing land to cater for residential and mixed-use zoning land. However, the town, being the regional capital, is still far away from the level of development expected by the residents and inhabitants of the great Oshikoto region. This is due to non- or snails-paced development by investors and individuals despite being allocated large pieces of land.”
He, therefore, said local economic development, growth, good governance and financial discipline are some of the vital areas that the council takes at heart in line with the budget.
Ndeutepo said a provision of N$38 million from the total budget is geared towards capital projects, while the remaining is for council operations as well as salary payments and restructuring.
The capital expenditure will go to the full servicing of Extension 4 for N$4 million, construction of open market phase at N$3 million, as well as a further allocation of N$2 million for building a community hall.
“The council has noted with great concern that there is a need to have a community hall in our town. The location of the hall will be moved to the sport stadium in order to serve as a multipurpose facility for both events and sports. Netball and volleyball courts are being constructed there as well, while a pavilion is to follow within the financial year,” stated the mayor.
Further outlining the budget, Ndeutepo said N$8 million has been made available to upgrade Nakaziko Street to bitumen standard.
An amount of N$6 million was spent in the previous financial year to upgrade a 600-metre stretch at Extension 1, which has not been handed over yet due to delays with the contractor.
“Omuthiya is strategically located with great potential as it is located near the Etosha National Park. Hence, in the current financial year, the council made a budget provision of N$1.5 million for Othithiya Park to improve tourism and leisure. Also, N$8 million will be for machinery, while a further N$6 million will be for improving water infrastructure,” he added.
“The total budget for council allowances and cell phone allowances for the year 2021/22 amounted to N$823 030. The increment for councillors’ allowances, sitting allowance and airtime allowances is made as per the proposal by The Association for Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN).”
ALAN has recommended N$116 250 for mayor, N$104 626 for deputy mayor and N$108 499 in annual allowances for management committee chairpersons. The association also want ordinary councillors serving on town councils to receive a yearly allowance of N$96 876 instead of the current N$64 584.