Innovative solutions address CoW’s financial challenges

Niël Terblanché

The City of Windhoek (CoW) has announced a series of strategic measures that have led to a marked improvement in the municipality’s fiscal health over the last two financial years in a significant turnaround from previous financial challenges.

According to a statement by the CoW, the key that was central to this success has been the containment of over-expenditure, with amongst others, a freeze on salary increases since 2020.

To address financial inefficiencies, the CoW has embarked on a rigorous cost-cutting initiative that has substantially enhanced the municipality’s liquidity.

The statement indicated that fiscal prudence has been accompanied by the implementation of innovative housing schemes, in conjunction with the Build Together Fund, aimed at leveraging internal resources to foster community development.

The recent restructuring of the municipality’s financial management practices, particularly the reclassification of unsupported council houses and the integration of the Build Together Fund with the Informal Settlement Upgrading Project since the 2020-2021 financial year, signifies a major step forward in ensuring adherence to proper fund accounting principles.

The statement said that this move is expected to streamline operations and enhance the efficiency of project implementations, addressing long-standing operational uncertainties and financial deficiencies.

The CoW’s assertive stance comes in the wake of reports questioning the municipality’s financial stability.

Contrary to these claims, the CoW has demonstrated commendable progress in its financial reporting, as evidenced by subsequent audit reports. Since June 2021, the city has cleared all arrears with its creditors, including key utilities such as NamPower and NamWater, and is currently up to date with its accounts.

According to the statement, the municipality is also actively engaging with the central government to resolve a significant debt issue through a land and debt swap method.

This innovative approach, involving the exchange of valuable land for the settlement of the N$700 million owed to the government, showcases the CoW’s commitment to finding creative solutions to its financial obligations.

By addressing past challenges head-on and leveraging internal resources for the benefit of its residents, the CoW is setting a precedent for municipal governance and financial management in the region. According to the statement, these proactive measures are aimed at rectifying the municipality’s financial standing and improving service delivery, providing evidence of a resilient and forward-thinking administration.

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