Harare(New Ziana)-The City of Harare on Friday said the $37.4 million released by government on Thursday as an intervention to ease water challenges in the capital is like a drop in the ocean as much more is required to fully address the issue.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development on Thursday availed $37.4 million to the local authority as a short-term intervention to improve water supply to residents whose health is under threat from prolonged periods without the precious liquid both for drinking and other domestic uses.
Council Information and Publicity Committee chairperson councillor Barnabas Ndira told journalists that more money was needed to enable the local authority to meet its obligations to residents.
“Govt has availed $37 million including undisclosed amount of foreign currency to mitigate water problems in Harare. The money is supposed to cater for water production, rehabilitation of Morton Jaffrey water distribution, waste water collection and sewer treatment.
“We want to thank Government for the funds but however more resources are needed if we are to meet our obligations,” he said.
He added: “Government is also supposed to give us 50 percent of our expenditure for services we offer at our council clinics and hospitals because we do not charge market prices.”
Ndira said Harare City Council was facing a myriad of challenges that stem largely from failure by users of municipal services to meet their end of the bargain.
“We are now owed $987 million by residents, churches, Government and businesses. It is sad to note that our revenue continues to decline at a time prices of goods and services are spiraling upwards and quickly going beyond the reach of our stagnant budget.
“Our water treatment chemical is now over RTGS$35 million while our monthly collections are RTGS$24 million which we hardly collect. Our collections are between RTGS$13 and RTGS$20 million,” he said.
He said council was implementing a number of strategies to boost revenue collection.
“The city is computerising all revenue collection systems to curb leakages. It will also review all market tariffs, conduct weekly blitz enforcing on payments and regular raids by enforcement team on illegal traders,” said Ndira.