Gweru residents owe council $250m

By Martin Mawaya

Gweru City Council (GCC) is owed in excess of $250 615 448.79 by residents, business and Government departments, a situation adversely affecting the service delivery.

As of September 30 this year residents in high density areas owed council $68 515 322.63 while those in low density owed $75 672 905.90.

Industry and commerce owe the city $66 965 397 with government departments owing $20 735 559.26 and others $18 726 264.

The city’s acting director of finance Mr Michael Verenga said “council collects an average of $11.8 million against $53 723 020 million required per month for water treatment chemicals, fuel, electricity and salaries among other commitments.

“This has been attributed by the delays on budget approval as well as the slashing of tariffs on billable income by 40% in April 2020”.

He said the local authority is experiencing financial woes due to reluctance by residents to honour their bills.

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“The city has experienced increase in the number of debtors and I want to urge our esteemed residents associations here present to work with council in persuading residents and all stakeholders to honour their bills to ensure quality service provision.

“We are also aware that our people are in a difficult situation brought by Covid-19 pandemic but we have to ensure that council continue provide services by paying our bills on time,” he said while presenting 2021 proposed budget.

He added that the city requires huge sums of money towards road rehabilitation programmes, refuse collection, health service delivery and maintenance of water treatment plant.

The 2020 budget review shows that council revenue collection is dwindling and is also struggling to clear its debts to various service providers which amount to $132 million, while billing revenue for the period of September 2020 stands at $241 million against the target of $822 million.

The cash strapped council has been failing to provide portable water, rehabilitation of roads and street lights as well as the collection of wastes due to poor departmental coordination, corruption and lack of resources .

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