CLEARLY shamed by media reports claiming men were sharing toilets with women, Harare's city council has included the refurbishment of public ablution facilities in its capital expenditure proposals for 2014.
Presenting the US$370 million budget at a special council meeting Friday, Harare City Council Finance Committee chairperson Allan Markham said council was envisaging a surprise budget surplus of almost a million dollars.
"The expenditure I have alluded to above amounting to US$273.6 million is made up of salaries and allowances (48%), administration charges (8%), general expenditure (28%) and maintenance (9%), capital charges (4%) while revenue contribution to outlay will be (3%).
"It is council's intention to raise the projected amount of US$274.6 million to finance the envisaged 2014 annual expenditure totalling US$273.7 million without increasing tariffs, charges and fees for the fourth year running," said Markham.
The council budget according to Markham will balloon to US$370 million if the US$95 million earmarked for capital expenditure is factored in.
While claiming that 98 out of the 115 public toilets dotted around the city are accessible to the public, Markham said council would make sure the outstanding 17 are brought on stream.
"The state of the public toilets in the city has been unacceptable and the 2013 (budget) provides for the refurbishment and operating of public toilets.
"Maintenance of social infrastructure was given prominence in 2013 budget (but) vandalism of public property including toilets remains high and a cause for concern," he said.
Most of Harare's public facilities, in particular toilets, are in a deplorable state, constantly releasing a putrid stench even in the capital's Central Business District (CBD).
Another area of concern which Markham highlighted was street lighting.
"Most roads remain dark at night including the CBD," he said.
"However it is envisaged that 50 high mast towers will be rehabilitated while another 50 towers will be installed in high density suburbs next year.
"Programmed maintenance on all 186 signalised junctions is on-going but the 2014 budget provides for their upgrading and US$5 million has been set aside for this purpose."
Council proposed a minimal reduction in some tariffs that include domestic water in high density suburbs which will go down by a dollar, while in low density suburbs will benefit from a $2 reduction.
Industrial water consumption will go down by US$30 while sewer charges in high density suburbs will fall by a single dollar compared to $2 high income group residential areas.
On the health front Markham announced that Anti-Retroviral therapy drug administration has been decentralised to the 12 Polyclinics throughout the city.