Gweru finances hamstrung by COVID-19 lockdown
Gweru (New Ziana)-The COVID-19 pandemic has seen the local authority revenue inflows dwindling due to the nationwide lockdown, resulting in constraints in service delivery.
Gweru Mayor Josiah Makombe said council was facing financial challenges that had resulted in failure to meet some of its obligations.
“Financial challenges still press us hard,” he said In his report to stakeholders for the month of June.
“Our revenue collection has declined.”
Many residents are not paying their bills as they are experiencing financial challenges caused due the lockdown.
“We urge our residents to assist the local authority by paying the little that they have,” said Makombe.
Makombe said shortages of fuel continued to affect the city’s operations.
“We try by all means to source for fuel. However the little we get is not enough to service the city in terms of refuse collection and immediate reaction to attend to sewer and burst pipes,” he said.
He said the local authority had to put its workers on rotation so as to maintain social distancing, while students on attachment had temporarily stopped reporting for work, resulting in a slow down in business.
Makombe said expressed concern at the increase in the number of people getting infected by the novel coronavirus in the city.
“So far in Gweru we have 13 positive cases of COVID-19. We encourage our valued residents to adopt the culture of wearing masks and practising social distancing,” he said.
He said the city had managed to disinfect hot spots such as market places and the central business district.
The local authority had received $30 000 from central government which was channeled towards training of health practitioners and $1,4 million which was used to procure protective clothing for health workers, he said.
It also received $4 million which was used to renovate the Infectious disease hospital, he said.