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Chairman of the newly established Okavango District Council (ODC) Gaopalelwe Ronald has decried that their first revenue support grant is not sufficient to allow the council to fulfil its mandate to deliver services to the people.
The district has been allocated a total of P178 million as compared to P159 million it was given in the 2022/23 financial year when it was still a sub-district which is a 10% increase.
Okavango is among the districts facing socio-economic challenges, among them being poor road infrastructure, lack of infrastructural developments such as schools, clinics and government offices, high unemployment rates and poverty. The challenges have for the longest time hindered a 100% service delivery to residents in the district.
In an interview, Ronald said they had expected to receive a bigger budget higher that what they were allocated as a sub district.
“For this financial year we expected a larger share of the revenue support grant for our district as it is new and has a number of issues that needs urgent attention. Issues such as health and education facilities were among projects we intended to work on, however the budget does not allow us to do so,” Ronald lamented.
He indicated that the current budget will largely affect service delivery across the district as they are experiencing shortage of offices, furniture which needs to be attended to urgently to fill a number of vacant posts in the council.
The chairman lamented that schools in areas such as Xhaoga, Tsodilo, Nxamasere and Mogotho have been converted into fully ledged schools though their classrooms do not match the standards of such facilities.
“Due to the low budget only 10% has been allocated to the education sector and this will not cater for upgrading infrastructure in these schools to meet its standards as planned for the 2023/24 financial year,” Ronald stressed.
According to him, the department of social services has the largest share of 36% out of which the largest amount will be channelled towards the relief of destitute persons and hostel feeding. 12% of the budget will be channelled towards department of mechanical services.
“The remaining 52% will be distributed across departments with council management getting 6%, finance and development planning 8%, housing estate management 2%, Architecture and building 5% and human resources and Administration getting 9% of the share,” the chairman revealed.