OTJIWARONGO - The resealing of seven kilometres of tar road in Otjiwarongo will receive the largest portion of the town’s 2019/2020 municipal capital projects budget allocation, after council approved the budget on Monday.
According to the budget statement read by Councilor Hilda Jesaja, who also serves as the chairperson of the management committee, the new budget was tabled with an understanding that Namibia’s current economic situation has caused hardship for many citizens.
Budget estimates were compiled according to several priority areas including ensuring that existing infrastructure is properly maintained, the upgrading of low-income areas, the provision of low-income housing, and making developed land available for different demographics of Otjiwarongo’s population.
According to the municipality, there is a need to provide services and infrastructure to meet the town’s high population growth. Otjiwarongo is also experiencing an influx of people to informal settlements, which the municipality aims to manage by allocating N$3 million to informal settlement planning and layout.
Additional capital projects in the budget include N$1 million for the interlocking and realignment of sections of Henk Willems Street and another N$1 million for the repair of five leaking towers.
A total of N$1.47 million has been budgeted to subsidise pensioners and other social grant recipients of basic municipal services in Otjiwarongo. The bulk of the rebates will go towards water levy subsidies and only apply to recipients with a municipal accounts and/or property registered in their name.
The municipality plans to spend N$62.5 million on salaries, wages and allowances, which will be four percent higher than projections for the current financial year. Council expects to generate N$28 million from rates and taxes, N$4.2 million from sewerage, N$8.3 million from sanitation, N$8 million from electricity surcharge levies, and N$12.1 million from water tariffs.
In the 2019/2020 financial year, which begins 1 July, Otjiwarongo municipality rates and taxes tariffs are set to increase by three percent. While sewerage and sanitation tariffs will increase by 5.8 percent and 3 percent respectively. Net income from electricity levies is projected to remain the same at N$8 million. The municipality projects an increase of N$3 million in income from water tariffs.
According to Councilor Jesaja, the budget falls in line with the municipality’s mandate of improving the livelihoods of Otjiwarongo residents.
“I believe today we are adopting a budget that provide economic drivers that will provide future growth in development, facilitate industries that will provide employment and deliver an increase in rateable properties to help keep rates as low as possible,” the councillor said.
*Kaylan Shipanga is an information officer at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology office in Otjiwarongo.