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Central District decries 34% budget cut

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
The country’s largest local authority, the Central District Council (CDC), says a 34 percent cut by the central government will impact negatively on children, the destitutes and many other developments.

The CDC had proposed a budget of P1.04 billion for the 2015/16 financial year, but was only granted P690.5 million by the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

The CDC recorded a funding gap of 19 percent in the 2014/15 financial year, from 20 and 30 percent respectively over the previous two years.

According  to the council budget report currently before councillors, the cuts would see planned maintenance of grounds and buildings decline by 73 percent while those for roads would be down 68 percent.

The budget for school equipment and stationary would be down  by 57 percent, while destitute relief would be reduced by 29 percent.

“The CDC has 105, 161 pupils and each child should be budgeted for at P450,00’’ the report states. “Due to ceiling limitations, Council ends up budgeting at P120 per child and this results in shortage of stationary and materials for pupils.”

The 12, 271 destitutes on the CDC books are also expected to feel the pinch of the lower funding. On roads, the local authority says

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the cutbacks would be constraining.

“CDC has roads that need frequent maintenance through dry grading and spot improvement. The P14.9 million cannot cater for all roads that need urgent attention.”

The paper states  that the plan to replace 121 unserviceable vehicles which had been earmarked for boarding as they are “old and off-road” would not be possible in the current financial year.

The underfunding has also been seen in the local authority’s development budget. According to the paper, several key projects had been deferred in previous years due to the budget cuts.

These include a construction of warehouses for supplementary feeding at Letlhakane and Bobonong, Mahalapye drainage and bus rank, the fire station and staff houses in Serowe and numerous roads projects.

“Since the economic recession, Central District has not be receiving funds for new projects,” reads the report.

“Only ongoing projects were funded as well as destitute housing, Ipelegeng, small community projects and four backlog projects.”

The report argues that its budget woes had compromised service delivery across its seven sub-districts.



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