Blantyre City Council chief executive officer Ted Nandolo has said the council requires in excess of K300 million to address most of the challenges the commercial capital faces every year.
Nandolo told journalists on Wednesday on the sidelines of a participatory pre-budgeting session for the 2012/13 financial year at the Civic Offices in Blantyre, that in the last budget, they only had K98 million for development which was not enough.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“[According to] some of our planned activities, we need about K200 million for a sewer system alone. We need more money in excess of what we can think of. Money is not a resource that is finite,Ã¢â‚¬Â he explained.
The pre-budget session which had presentations from all the sectors of the city such as health, water and sanitation, infrastructure, among others, attracted captains of industry and residents surrounding the city.
Nandolo said the main focus in calendar year will be infrastructure development stressing that Blantyre is one of the oldest cities in this country and probably in Central Africa; hence, infrastructure is key.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We would like to make sure that infrastructure becomes a key component of our budget, in particular, the road infrastructure but also building infrastructure, particularly in Limbe.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Limbe is posing an infrastructure challenge. We have already started holding meetings with the owners of infrastructure in Limbe so that something is done about the buildings,Ã¢â‚¬Â he said.
Limbe has some of the oldest buildings in the country, some of which were being used by the colonialists in the 1950s. The buildings are currently being used as shops and office blocks which sometimes poses a security risk.
Nandolo justified the holding of the consultation, saying they want to ensure that the process is participatory and also that the city is taken back to the people.
He said this is in line with the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s bottom up approach in terms of development and budget formulation.
But the city chief said inspite of the challenges, the city has managed to achieve a number of things particularly on infrastructure development and the delivery of other services.
Environment, he said, is another challenge the city plans to tackle in the year more, especially refuse collection.
The Public Private Partnership (PPP) law, enacted last year, is a positive step that will help the council to outsource some of its service, particularly the collection of refuse, he said.
On performance, he said the city achieved 70 percent of its activites and 60 percent performance in terms of expenditures.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are on course despite the challenges we have,Ã¢â‚¬Â he noted.
Some of the participants who attended the consultations hailed the council for the process arguing that as residents they have expectations the city has to meet.
Late last year, BCC launched its Investors Guide, a promotional booklet aimed at selling the city to both local and international investors.
The Investors Guide is part of the Millennium Cities Initiative (MCI) founded in 2006 by renowned economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and is aimed at assisting selected sub-saharan cities to attain the United NationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.