Home » Governance » Harare Offers 30 Percent Discounts to Debtors

Harare City Council is offering a 30 percent discount to corporates and 5 percent to residents who settle their debts in full by end of this month. This is an effort by council to entice residents to settle their bills.

The city is owed US$305 million by different customers who range from Government, satellite towns, business and residents. The payment of bills will rescue Harare from a financial crisis which has seen the local authority relying on debt financing for all its capital projects

Speaking at Harare city service delivery charter stakeholders’ workshop on Monday, the city’s acting finance director Mr Tendai Kwenda said after the reprieve, the city will take legal action against defaulters.

“The offer will expire at the end of December and after that, we will go the legal route for non-complying debtors,” he said.

Council has put in place various measures to enforce payment of bills including water disconnections, use of debt collectors, pay-offs and negotiated settlements.

Residents can now agree on payment plans with their respective district officers in line with council’s decentralisation of services programme. The city recently passed a landmark resolution that seeks to empower communities.

Each district will now retain 10 percent of all revenue collected in their area for local development projects like street lighting, painting of public amenities such as halls and cregraveches. Residents have often cited poor service delivery by the city as a reason for not paying.

The city says debts continue to balloon with 52 percent being from rates and supplementary charges while 48 percent is for water and sewer.

Harare’s principal communications officer Mr Michael Chideme said in order to recover some of the debt, the city was attaching property of at least 500 debtors following the issuance of writs of execution which were served on the debtors by the Messenger of Court.

“In addition, over 3 200 summons have been issued in the past weeks through the Messenger of Court. Our aim is to get the residents to pay their outstanding bills.

“Failure by residents and business to pay their bills in time aersely affects service delivery. The city finances its service delivery mandate through the rates paid by its residents and business. Residents who pay their outstanding debts by December 31 will have 5 percent of the debts credited to their accounts,” he said.

Source : The Herald