Home » Governance » Harare Council Bans Foreign Trips

The financially hamstrung Harare City Council has suspended all foreign trips and local workshops by councillors and officials as a cost- cutting measure to save money for workers’ salaries.

The city has been struggling to pay workers’ salaries as well as provide basic services, with human capital and public safety director, Dr Cainos Chingombe, last week announcing that they had managed to pay January 2015 salaries for all grades and February salaries for Grades 14 to 16 only.

Human resources and general purposes committee chairperson Mr Wellington Chikombo said the move was a cost containment measure to enable the city to channel revenue to pressing areas.

“Yes, I can confirm we have suspended foreign trips and workshops,” he said.

“It is part of the austerity measures which we have introduced as a city for a certain period of time.

“We have put a moratorium for a period of time which will constantly be monitored and reviewed if need be.”

The city has been holding strategic planning workshops aimed at equipping councillors with the requisite knowledge on council procedures for the past two years.

Local workshops are usually organised for committees and held out of Harare at hotels in Kadoma, Kariba and Nyanga.

Acting finance director, Mr Tendai Kwenda, recently told the joint finance and development and human resources and general purposes committee that the city had adopted several strategies to improve revenue inflows.

He said among other strategies, heads of departments were given revenue collection targets from areas of focus such as leases, properties, properties not on roll, markets, trenching business licenses, billboards, rentals and debtors.

The city has also intensified disconnection of water supplies to defaulters despite a High Court ruling by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu outlawing all water disconnections.

Justice Bhunu said Section 8 of the water by-law, under Statutory Instrument 164 of 1913 which gave local authorities the mandate to disconnect defaulting residents was illegal as it was ultra vires the Constitution.

The city says it intends to be current in terms of paying salaries by this month-end for all grades.

“This means from today up to end of next week we would have paid salaries for March and April for all employees,” said Dr Chingombe.

“As management, we feel for our employees and are not happy some of them had resorted to borrowing to meet their daily expenses.

“We are very much aware that our employees need to pay school fees, rentals, buy food and, above all, express themselves freely with their money.”

Source : The Herald