Backlash over questionable billing

29 Mar, 2024 - 00:03 0 Views

Suburban

Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter

HARARE property owners are exasperated at the way the city is calculating its bills and the situation is being worsened by an unstable exchange rate as the Zimbabwe dollar keeps falling against the United States dollar.

Former Ward 18 Councillor Mr Allan Markham, who is also former Harare East Member of Parliament, told Suburban that the city tracks the official exchange rates and bills residents in US dollars based on the land area of their properties, regardless of the presence or absence of buildings.

For instance, if the exchange rate on a particular day is US$1 to ZWL$20,400, the city adds 10 percent on top of that before billing residents. This means that the exchange rate used for billing can fluctuate daily, leading to significant variations in the amount residents are charged and billed.

The problem escalates for those who delay their payments, as the municipality uses the prevailing exchange rate on the date of payment, potentially resulting in higher bills than anticipated. This has left residents feeling shortchanged and uncertain about the accuracy and fairness of the billing process.

The lack of transparency and consistency in the billing system has raised concerns among residents, who are calling for greater clarity and fairness in the city’s rates calculations and billing practices. Residents said understanding the impact of the fluctuating exchange rate on their bills is crucial for them to make informed decisions about their payments and financial planning.

Mr Markham bemoaned the billing methods the City of Harare is using and called for clarity and fairness in the billing process.

In an interview on Monday, Mr Markham highlighted the impact of the fluctuating exchange rate on residents’ bills, calling for greater transparency and consistency in the city’s billing system.

He said it was crucial for resident to understanding the implications of daily changes in the exchange rate on their bills, urging the City of Harare to address these concerns and ensure a more equitable and transparent billing process for all property owners.

“The lack of transparency and consistency in the billing system has raised concerns among residents,” said Mr Markham.

Mr Markham’s concerns dovetail with the sentiments of several Harare residents who are seeking reassurance and clarity from the City of Harare regarding the rates and bills.

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