Home » Literacy » Zimbabwe: Harare City Owed U.S.$500 Million

Harare City Council is owed half a billion dollars in unpaid bills by residents, Government and business, a situation which has seen the local authority failing to provide basic services and pay salaries.

Acting finance director Mr Tendai Kwenda, attributed the situation to the prevailing economic challenges which are affecting most residents.

According to the recent minutes of the Finance and Development Committee, Mr Kwenda reported on the various sector accounts and the position on council debtors and creditors variances.

"Aggregated income and expenditure summary for January to April 30, 2016 indicated a surplus of $33,2 million. Debtors were reported at $477,7 million while creditors stood at $398,2 million. A total of $26,2 was owed to CABS and BanABC as at April 30, 2016.

"A loan of $144,4 million was owed to Exim Bank of China of which $72,2 million had been committed and repayment would commence in 2017 and short, medium and long term amounting to $98,4 million owed by council to both local and international financiers as at April 30,2016," reads the minutes.

Harare City Council recently said it is setting aside $275 000 daily towards the payment of salaries in a bid to reduce salary arrears which stand at six months.

Acting Town Clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube said management had put in place strategies to accelerate revenue collection in order to close on the salary gap.

Mrs Ncube said that emphasis was being put on revenue collection and heads of departments were putting together various strategies to ensure success in this regard.

Harare City Council workers have since urged Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to intervene, accusing the city of infringing upon their rights.

Harare Municipality Workers' Union executive chairman Mr Cosmas Bungu said council workers have turned into perpetual beggars who are surviving on handouts from well-wishers.

"We want to reiterate that the City of Harare is not above the law as their behaviour seems to suggest. In terms of the International Labour Organisation Convention Against Forced Labour, the City Fathers are in flagrant contravention of the law by deliberately failing to pay council employees their outstanding salaries for the past six months and bonuses for 2015 in contravention of Statutory Instrument 135/12," he said.

Harare City Council last year served about 20 000 defaulters with summons to attach properties, as it moved to recover money owed in unpaid bills by residents.

The city served summons in Borrowdale, Mabvuku, Mt Pleasant, Highlands, Mabelreign, Marlborough and other suburbs with summons to attach properties.

Source: The Herald