KHORIXAS – Unemployment stands at an astronomical 65 percent at Khorixas in Kunene Region, making it difficult for the town council to deliver services due to non-payment of services such as rates and taxes.
This was revealed by chairperson of the town’s management committee Kleophas Tjuunduwa, who said council has had difficulties presenting a good budget for its operations.
“This is an indication that our revenue base and current alternative revenue sources are not able to meet the demands for services within the current economic environment,” Tjuunduwa said while tabling the Khorixas Town Council budget estimates, together with the new tariff structure.
Khorixas CEO Andreas /Howoseb confirmed to New Era that unemployment was very high at the town, but that efforts were being made to mitigate the situation.
“They [residents] are unable to pay debts and assist their families. We will work and develop our town,” /Howoseb remedied.
Khorixas have not seen any major projects in many years but with the construction of the N$700 million Vocational Training Centre and a N$30 million shopping mall, it is hoped the situation would change for the better.
Young people at the town, however, remained pessimistic about their chances of getting jobs, saying non-residents have been bused in for the jobs.
“There is no resident born in Khorixas working there. We, for once, want to be employed in this construction projects but we are only seeing faces of people from outside Khorixas,” fumed a 31-year-old man, who preferred anonymity.
/Howoseb, when asked about locals being sidelined, responded: “The mayor and I were at the shopping mall and VTC construction sites and from next month, locals will be consulted for unskilled labour force and developers are positive about it.”
He said more job opportunities will be available once the actual construction phase for the VTC starts later this year. Many young residents of Khorixas migrate to coastal towns in search for work opportunities.
Regarding the newly-tabled budget, Tjuunduwa says many tariff rates will remain unchanged for the 2018/2019 financial year. The water basic tariffs, sewerage tariffs, consumption tariffs, household refuse removal tariff and availability charge for services tariffs remain the same, but the solid waste management tariff will be increased with 10 percent.
The residential property tax tariff is decreased with 20 percent while that of business property tax tariffs is decreased with 45 percent.
Tjuunduwa says the salary provision is pegged at 26 percent of the operational budget, which falls well within the accepted limit of 35 percent. N$16.3 million is earmarked for projects, of which N$8.3 million is for ongoing projects such as sewerage plant repairs and maintenance. Repairs and maintenance on water related services got a N$2.4 million slice, refuse removal improvements got N$900 000, while N$1.5 million is reserved for street upgrades and maintenance.