…water charges up by 300%
…local authority to tap advice from mooted think-tank
KWEKWE- Financially challenged Kwekwe city council is set to increase service rates and water tariffs due to the continually deteriorating economic situation in Zimbabwe as the ministry of Local Governance has since ordered all local authorities to prepare supplementary budgets.
Presenting the proposed 2019 supplementary budget to the business community at a local hotel in Kwekwe last Tuesday, January Mukandapi, the local authority’s Acting Director of Finance said Kwekwe is now incapacitated to provide services to clients due to turbulent economic times capitulated by the perpetual devaluation of the local currency which has since been declared the sole legal tender in all transactions within the country.
Mukandapi also said when the council prepared its 2019 budget, they based their estimations on the 1:1 exchange rate between the now interdicted United States dollars and the initially surrogate bond notes.
“When we were coming up with the 2019 budget, the economic situation had not adversely changed to where it has now become and we used the 1:1 exchange rate. These proposed changes have been influenced by the new changes to monetary statutory instruments”, Mukandapi said.
The city council, midlandsnews established, could also not afford to procure water treatment chemicals to provide clean drinking water to its ratepayers. The council used to fetch aluminum sulphate at US$27 400 per 30 tons but will now have to fork out ZWL$143 500 per the same tonnage.
“As a result of these adjustments by council suppliers the council has proposed an increment in rates and water charges from $0.14 per square meter to ZWL$0.35 per square meter and $0.80 to $2.70 per cubic Littre respectively.
According to the Director of Housing Edson Chiyangwa, revenue collection currently lies on 55% and the council has resolved to intensify their revenue collection.
During the workshop, it also emerged that some gullible council officials have been engaging in corrupt activities where they reportedly accept bribes as low as $5 from defaulting residents so that they do not disconnect water from the same defaulting residents.
“We have actually received reports about staffers who are bribed- getting bribes as paltry as $5 and we have already fired two employees who have been implicated in such cases”, said Mukandapi.
Kwekwe is owed over $40 million by ratepayers and the local authority has since taken litigation measures to recover its debts. Kwekwe also has debts totaling to over $32 million.
Meanwhile, the local authority culled the idea mooted by Business Development Manager for multinational Mndeni Meats, Thabani Mashava, to come up with a think-tank comprising of experts who will help Kwekwe city council in its pursuit to provide excellent services amid the turbulent economic times.
Subsequently, a resolution was passed and Kwekwe Mayor Angeline Kasipo said nothing will stop the local municipality from establishing the think-tank that will provide expert advice to Town House.