Gweru City Council has rejected a request by residents to slash tariffs by 50 percent. The local authority says the 2021 financial budget has already been approved by central government, thus cannot be reduced.
Gweru City Council spokesperson, communication and public relations officer Vimbai Chingwaramusee told BusinessMail that the city needs to maximize revenue collection to provide quality services.
“Unfortunately as a local authority we will not approve the proposal to slash the rates coming from some residents. That was the approved 2021 budget and it becomes law when approved by the Minister of Local Government. And as a local authority to make sure that we continue to provide quality service we need to get revenue and the revenue comes from the people that we provide service delivery. We cannot function without money, the engine of the local authority is revenue,” Chingwaramusee said.
Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association Executive Director Cornilia Selipiwe said they will keep pressing for the tariffs to be reduced.
“We had actually hope our local authority will consider our position, all that we wanted was an implementation matrix in terms of how they were going to implement their approved budget. We had requested for them to implement 50 percent first from January to June and then the other 50 percent from June to December. We are only happy that they replied our letter and gave us their position people do not have any disposable income and they are likely not going to pay the new rates,” Selipiwe said.
He said they are going to engage the District Administrator, the Minister of State for Midlands Province Larry Mavhima and the Minister of Local Government July Moyo.
Gweru City Council is owed more than ZWL$500 000 million in unpaid rates by residents, companies and government institutions. The non-payment of rates has resulted in the local authority failing to provide an efficient service delivery. The local authority has send final letters of demand to residents but they have vowed that they will not pay the rates which they feel are too high.
Gweru City has implemented a $1.99 billion budget for 2021, an increase of 146% from the 2020 budget.
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