Zimbabwe: Councils Urged to Ensure Their Bills Are Paid

Economic analyst John Robertson said urban councils should come up with ways of ensuring that everyone pays their bills if they are to revamp service delivery in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

"The majority of urban residents are not paying rates to their respective town councils and most councils will continue to be overwhelmed by demand because they cannot cater for the ever-increasing population. They are operating on limited budgets," he said.

Robertson said councils should adopt strategies that have been taken in other countries such as Scotland, England and Wales, where the local governments introduced community or poll tax.

"In other countries such as Scotland, Wales and England, this system of taxation was introduced in the late 90's which provided for a single flat-rate per-capita tax on every adult, at a rate set by the local authority," he said.

Community or poll tax is a fixed tax charged per adult resident, for the services provided by the local authority in a community.

The unemployed are usually taxed less than those who are formally employed.

But social commentator Kennedy Dapi said introducing a tax would disadvantage residents as they were already burdened by huge bills against the backdrop of poor service delivery and economic hardships.

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