Namibia: Swakop Drafts N$650 Million Budget and Zero Tariff Hike

The Swakopmund municipality tabled a N$650 million budget for the current financial year, N$196 million capital and N$454 million operational, with no increase in tariffs.

Erkkie Shitana, chairman of the Swakopmund municipal council management committee on Thursday said the council understands the current economic circumstances - hence the decision not to increase tariffs.

Assessment rates payable for improved properties and site values will only be considered after the general valuation roll for the next five years is approved.

This means no interest will be levied on service accounts due to non-payment, no interest is to be levied on the renewal of late business registrations for the period ending on 31 March 2021, and no interest will be paid by prospective property owners who have purchased erven, and who are expected to pay their purchase prices.

Reduced tariffs will also be introduced for bungalows until 30 September.

Of the N$196 million for capital projects, Shitana said N$123 million is for multiple projects to be carried over from last year, and N$74 million for new projects.

Noteworthy capital projects include the ongoing formalisation of the DRC informal settlement, the relocation of sewerage blocks in the Mondesa and Tamariskia locations, other sewerage works developments, land servicing, open and public space development and maintenance, street development, public building restoration and maintenance, refuse removal development and upgrading, business and market stalls, and water-related services.

"We have worked to find a balance between the need to support important municipal services and developments, and restraining increases," Shitana said.

According to him, service has become challenging to manage effectively as it has to be supported by sufficient financial resources.

The issue of the vandalism of infrastructure will be tackled in cooperation with the community, he said.

This will help prevent limited municipal resources from being unnecessarily diverted.

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Shitana said the town council has provided for a possible coronavirus outbreak at Swakopmund.

Some capital projects are related to measures keeping the pandemic at bay.

This includes the renovation of all informal markets in compliance with Covid-19 directives.

Swakopmund mayor Nehemiah Salomon during the tabling of the budget said the municipality "greatly concerns" itself with the safety of its residents.

In its efforts to combat the pandemic, the council has implemented a number of measures, including the reconnection of water, installation of taps, the provision of mobile facilities at informal settlements, and the distribution of food parcels to the vulnerable.

It further registered local businesses to allow them to operate during the pandemic.

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