The diamond mining town of Oranjemund will be running on a tight budget of N$193 million for the financial year 2020/2021, according to a budget tabled at a special council meeting by the chairperson of the management committee, Guame Stephanus, recently.
Stephanus explained that the budget includes N$92 million for operating expenditure and N$99 million for capital expenditure with provisions of N$1,7 million for leave and bad debts.
Other items are subsidies from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development of N$5 million, and N$7 million from the National Planning Commission for capital projects, as well as N$3 million from the RFA for road maintenance.
Under the capital budget, the council is looking at investing in major infrastructure such as the construction of a new head office, bungalows, an open market, low-cost houses and a landfill site.
The budget also provided for the establishment of a fire station, festival centre, recycling centres, and a weather station.
Stephanus added that maintaining and improving Oranjemund's infrastructure will continue to require significant investment as the council is operating on restrained resources.
"The council together with its management committee will be closely monitoring the 2021/2022 financial transactions to ensure that it is providing the desired levels of services while moving forward with current developments to ensure growth and prosperity," he said.
Apart from the traditional municipal income from the estimated 2 474 properties, Oranjemund Town Council relies mainly on occupational and site rent and the sale of erven.
"The erven referred to are those with Namdeb improvements, of which the company would like to keep supporting their business operations as well as the sales of serviced land. The land lease charges include portion lease by Namdeb as per the memorandum of agreement which accounts for over N$8 million annually," added Stephanus.
Council is anticipating generating more revenue from property sales which, according to Stephanus, if added to the existing funds, can place the council in a more favourable position to finance the anticipated projects.
Of the N$91 million of the operational budget, N$60 million will go towards expenses such as the service contract for dumpsite management, bulk purchase of electricity and water distribution.
Council has set aside N$22 million for staff expenses.
The town council also considered the current unfavourable prevailing economic circumstances and chose not to increase water-tariffs this financial year.
Stephanus pledged the town council's commitment to working hard to attract future and retain current businesses to secure its sustainability beyond diamond mining.