Zimbabwe: Unpaid Rates Choke Mutare Municipality

28 February 2020

City council is owed at least RTGS$74 million in unpaid rates in both residential and commercial stands, a development city fathers blame for the poor service delivery.

Speaking to journalists during community development training workshop in Mutare Deputy Mayor, Kudakwashe Chisango said the debt coupled with the constrained macro-economic environment have compromised their capacity to provide efficient service delivery in the city.

"We have some numerous challenges in our service delivery mandate, chief of them being the economic meltdown, the effects which have affected us in (various) ways.

"It has led to closure of most industries that has greatly affected our revenue inflows.

"The ballooning debt as residents are failing to pay for services that we render to them. The debt now stands at RTGS$74 million.

"The ageing water and sewer network is resulting in frequent water and sewer bursts. Council is failing to meet the maintenance demand of the same due to non-performance of the budget in this hyperinflationary environment," said Chisango.

He added, "Daily refuse collection schedules are being disrupted by the prevailing fuel challenges in the country, we are no spared from these challenges like everyone else."

On the road network Chisango said the city's road infrastructure required urgent attention which needed a total of US$$24 million for the total 504 kilometers road network.

He said despite disbursement of funds from Zimbabwe National Roads Administration and the budget funds by the council the available would not meet the required budget.

In total, the ZINARA and council's own internal funding mechanisms, is at RTGS$19 million falling way short of the required package.

"Our road network which is 504 kilometers requires urgent rehabilitation. In total, we need US$24 million to upgrade our roads and meet the smart city status.

"Inadequate funding from ZINARA has affected our maintenance schedule. In 2020, we expect RTGS$7 million and Council is financing internally using internal funds, we are expecting to inject RTGS$12 million.

"However, the two figures combined do not make any meaningful impact considering the magnitude of repair work that needs to be carried out," said Chisango.

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