The downgrading of Uis from a village council to a settlement area has placed additional strain on the Erongo Regional Council in the execution of its mandate; the council management committee chairperson recently lamented.
During an ordinary council meeting last week, Hafeni Ndemula said the council inherited the running of the affairs of Uis with a total debt of a staggering N$4.3m owed to NamWater alone.
Although the Ministry of Regional, Local Government and Rural Development (MRLGRD) in the annual budget allotted N$3m from the national coffers for the settlement of the dues of Uis, Ndemula noted that this was not enough, forcing the regional council to initiate additional fundraising projects to avert its budget deficit.
He made these comments while tabling the N$33 441 645 2012/13 operational budget of the Erongo Regional Council for approval.
Uis’ previous year’s expenditure was N$28m as compared to this year’s estimate of N$33mthat is inclusive of the estimates.
Ndemula said that out of this amount, N$1 390 853 will be used to settle Uis’ debts with NamWater to enable the regional council to take over the collection of water sales for the settlement area until it regains it former status.
“These funds were under the custodian of our parent ministry (MRLGHRD) during the time Uis Village Council was downgraded. In a nutshell, our budget showed no increment compared to last year as the percentage increase for both financial years under review showed a correlation of 13%,” the regional councillor said.
The regional council will receive the bulk of its budget from central government amounting to N$24 345 339 inclusive of Uis’ settlement while it is expected to collect just over N$5m inclusive of N$1m for Uis in order to meet the operational budget.
The councillor pointed out that 61% of this year’s budget allocation will go towards the Council’s wage bill, leaving only 39% for operational activities.
The regional council could only manage to complete three of the seven capital projects that have been budgeted for under the 2011/13 development budget, requiring that the remaining projects be included in this year’s development.
The projects are the construction of administration offices for Okombahe and Otjimbingwe; upgrading and extensions of sewerage network in Okambahe; refuse dumping site construction in Okombahe and Otjimbingwe; poultry project in Omaruru; fencing of cemetery in Okombahe; additional structures at constitutional offices and construction of Tsoaxudaman Tradition Authority office. The regional council’s budget is availed for the provisioning of basic services at all settlement areas and to provide basic necessities to the people.
Ndemula reiterated how the council’s progression was slightly hampered and there was need to solicit funds and settle the debt before focusing on any other areas of concern.