The Gweru City Council, is owed more than $500 million in unpaid rates by residents, companies and government institutions, a council official said.
The money derived from rates is used by council to fund road repairs, water supply and the sewer reticulation management, public lighting, education council clinics, law and order, refuse collection and general social services and community development.
Gweru city council spokesperson, communication and public relations officer Vimbai Chingwaramusee told BusinessMail that council sent letters of demand to those owing them.
“We have sent out letters of demand to those people that owe us, we also been in communication with these clients and residents so far they have been forthcoming like government institutions they have been forthcoming and they have been paying.
We got a positive response from the government institutions.
Residents owe us $ 296 million while companies, government institutions and other stakeholders owe us $ 290 million,” she said.
Chingwaramusee said per year the city council needs about $3 billion to make sure there’s a smooth running of the local authority.
“As Gweru city council we need $3 billion to make sure that there’s a smooth running of the local authority. Non payment of rates by residents, government institutions and other stakeholders has greatly affected our operations as it weighed down our operations because you know the engine of this local authority is revenue.
The revenue that we collect from people mainly residents are owing us a lot of money so we cannot provide quality services because we do not have the resources, as we do not have the money. To provide these quality services we have to get the money so if we don’t have the money then surely the service delivery goes down the drain,” said Chingwaramusee.
Residents across the country have been complaining of the deteriorating standards of service delivery from local authorities over the years.
Vimbai further urged residents to pay their rates for better quality service within the city.
“We are encouraging residents to pay if you want the provision of quality services you have to pay for those services No service will come without you paying that is basically encouraging our residents to do however as management and councilors we are going to sit down and discuss and map a way forward to see if we can reduce,” she said.
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