22 May 2019
Business Community Gives City’s 2019/2020 Draft Budget Thumbs Up
As part of its budget consultation process, eThekwini Municipality engaged fruitfully with one of its important external stakeholder, the business community, after presenting its 2019/2020 draft budget.
The business community showed great support towards the budget whilst outlining certain challenges that the City faces. Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer said that the budget is balanced and sustainable and has key focus areas. “This budget supports our commitment to broadening service delivery, attracting investors and expanding investment in infrastructure, within the current constrained economic environment currently being experienced” said Peer.
Some of the priorities within the 2019/20 budget are service delivery, economic growth, poverty alleviation, investment and job creation.
The Deputy Mayor also explained that tariff increases were unavoidable but are still reasonable. She further stressed the significance of the business community. “We need the private sector to partner with us in growing the economy. It is, however, our responsibility to create a stable environment to ensure that investors such as yourselves can take advantage of the conducive environment to grow your businesses” said Peer.
Deputy City Manager: Treasury, Dr Krish Kumar, conducted the budget presentation and a particular point of interest was the actual cost to live in the City. According to the South African Cities Network, eThekwini Municipality’s cost was lower than average. “The National Treasury benchmarking exercise confirms that that this is still the case and moreover that it actually has the lowest account in respect of middle income and affordable housing.”
Beryl Mphakathi, acting on behalf of City Manager Sipho Nzuza said that opportunities for growth and empowerment of small businesses are a priority: “Creating jobs and empowering our people are some of the core functions that characterise eThekwini Municipality, which is why we are doubling our efforts in ensuring that emerging businesses benefit by empowering and assisting them to identify and exploit available opportunities” said Phakathi.
The word from the business community was strong and direct. Mike Raftery, Chief Financial Officer of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that business thrives in an environment of security and certainty. He appreciated the efforts made by the City thus far but also reminded the gathering of the serious challenges faced by Durban. “More must be done to curb the non-revenue water loss, the City’s ageing drainage system and other related issues”said Raftery.
“A City is not determined by its length and width, but by the broadness of its vision and the height of its dreams,” Raftery concluded.
Issued by eThekwini Municipality, Communications Unit. Spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela. For media enquiries contact 031 311 4820/18