Mutare residents owe city $900 million

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(New Ziana-Mutare) -Mutare residents and ratepayers owe the city council over $ZW$900 million in unpaid bills, a situation that is grossly affecting service delivery, a senior official has said.

Mayor Blessing Tandi told participants of a service delivery engagement dialogue which the Tell Zimbabwe Trust in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) held in the eastern border city recently.

Tell Zim Trust and ZIMCODD are running a series of meetings in Manicaland to inform residents about key developments taking place in their communities and also to hold public officers to account on promises they made when they were elected into office.

Tandi said council was going through a difficult period due the ballooning debt, which he described as a “major cause for concern”.

“Council is still going through a very difficult period. The ballooning debt is a major cause for concern. Currently, Council is owed more than $ZW 900 Million. The debt has affected the smooth flow of service delivery and it has affected the Capital Expenditure (CApEX) projects for 2021,”he said.

He said the 2013 slashing of bills by the government hamstrung operations of many local authorities as they lost most of the funds owed by ratepayers.

“From 2013 to 2o18, ratepayers were not paying their bills in anticipation of another amnesty from the government, ” said Tandi.

Hyper inflation and poor performance of the economy were some of the factors which affected the smooth flow of service delivery, he said.

Tandi encouraged residents with arrears to come forward and make payment plans, adding that the council would use litigation as a last resort.

“We can only use litigation as a last resort but we encourage our ratepayers and stakeholders to come forward and make payment plans,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tandi said the local authority had so far accessed ZW$ 32 849 485.47 out of the budgeted figure of $264 000 000 through the devolution grant from the government.

New Ziana

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