By Martin Mawaya
The Industrial sector owes $25 million in unpaid water and land rates towards the cash strapped Gweru City Council the first quarter budget review report has revealed.
Most industries have failed to pay their rates largely due to the harsh economic climate that has forced most companies to close down.
Acting Director of Finance, Owen Masimba said council will be unable to recover the rates owed to them by industry by companies that are under judicial management.
“As we speak the industry is divided into two categories, others are under judiciary management and some decided to close without going through the judiciary management system.
“It is very difficult for us to recover all the debts from companies especially those under the judiciary management because they are protected by law and council cannot do anything unless they get an investor who may want to invest. We will be able to recover something as the Clerk of High Court would require rates clearance certificate and for that we can get something,” he said.
He added that, council has already taken measures by handing them to debt collectors.
“To those that closed and not on judiciary management, we have already handed them to the debt collectors and most of them are making payment plans because they want to protect their land,” said Masimba.
He pleaded with all debtors to settle their dues or approach city council to make payment plans.
“We encourage business to come and settle their accounts or make payment plans so that council will be able to carry its mandate of delivering services to the people,” he explained.
Gweru City Council revenue collection declined in 2013 after government instructed all local authorities to right off all debts. The directive killed the culture of paying and only benefited the defaulters with council being left with a huge debt.