The construction of a $300 000 administration office in Gokwe Town is nearing completion, an official said.
Addressing a visiting delegation from Gambia’s Kanifing Municipal Council, in Gokwe, town secretary Ms Melania Mandeya said the administration offices would also see the introduction of an electronic billing system aimed at improving service delivery.
The Gambian delegation was in the Midlands town for an International Peer Review (IPR) meant to improve the two municipalities’ capacity to improve service delivery.
The delegation was presented with Gokwe Council profiles and departmental reports before being taken on a field tour of the key service delivery sites of the municipality such as the new administration block.
In an interview on the sidelines of the tour, Ms Mandeya said rate payers had solely funded the project.
“The new administration block is almost complete and we are moving here as soon as possible. It is going to cost about $300 000 and I am glad to state that we didn’t borrow a cent for this project. All the money is coming from rates,” she said.
Ms Mandeya said they were implementing the Government directive that local authorities should cut salaries and allowances to no more than 30 percent of revenue collected and allocate at least 70 percent to service delivery.
She said because of that they had managed to take 70 percent of revenue and channelled it towards the administration offices.
Ms Mandeya said new building would house the revenue hall among other offices and would also bring about digitalisation in the form of electronic billing adding that Unicef was funding the funding partner of the Information Technology systems they were going to introduce.
Ms Mandeya said council employees would also be trained by Unicef on how to use the state of the art IT equipment.
“The IT systems are in place fully funded by our partner Unicef and we have also received a nod from our parent ministry (Local Government, Public Works and National Housing) to take on board a system administrator. We could not employ one since we had not reached the set standards but now we are there,” Ms Mandeya said.
She also said they had engaged the services of voluntary litter monitors whom she said were helping council to clean the town for free.
Ms Mandeya said the local authority’s partnerships with churches such as Johane Masowe Chishanu in Ward 2, Greenvalley Women’s Club in Ward 3 and Ziso Reutano in Ward 2 had resulted in members of the community learning more about keeping their environment clean for the good of their health.
“We have litter monitors, churches and community organisations that are keeping the town clean for free, much to the benefit of the town,” she said.
Kanifing Municipality Council chief executive officer Mr Pa Kalifa Sanyang said their visit to Gokwe town was an eye opener.
He said they would implement some of the community-council initiatives aimed at keeping it clean.
Gokwe Town Council officers visited Kanifing Municipality about two weeks ago.
Gokwe has a population of about 25 000 residents.
The IPR programme is an initiative of the Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) with the support of the European Union.
IPR mechanism is being undertaken in fulfilment of activities under the project on Strengthening Transnational partnerships and Networks for Enhancing Participatory Local Governance (STRAP).
The IPR process borrows from the indicators of good governance adopted by the three local government associations of Ghana, The Gambia and Zimbabwe at a regional workshop held in the West African country in 2013.