Peter Tanyanyiwa Suburban Reporter
The City of Harare has admitted that it is failing to provide basic services to residents and some have stopped paying rates as a result.
Boycotting paying rates has further eroded the municipality’s already thin revenue base resulting in the current financial crisis.
The City has indicated that it is in a dire financial crisis and for the first time in several years has failed to pay its workers timeously.
Town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango said the low revenue collection efficiency has significantly impacted service delivery.
“We are here because the city is in a financial crisis. For the first time in many years we are failing to pay salaries on time. For you to fully appreciate the crisis we are facing pay attention to the following: collection efficiency: 35percent, debtors: ZWL317 billion as at 31 July 2023, creditors: ZWL123, 4 billion as at 31 July 2023. In summary, low collection efficiency has significant impact on service delivery by reducing revenue, leading to inefficient resource allocation, inability to meet service demands, inability to invest in infrastructure, and increased debt,” he said.
According to a council budget report, the municipality collected slightly more than $60 billion against a potential revenue target of $175 billion in July.
The city’s revenue collection efficiency has been fluctuating beginning the year in January at 52 percent, dropped to 48 percent in February before rising to 55 percent in March then dropping slightly in April to 53.8 percent and rising to 65 percent in May. It dropped to 58 percent in June and further plunged to 35.4 percent in July, the lowest in the period under review between January and July 2023.
Eng Chisango was speaking at the City of Harare revenue generation, maximisation and cost containment brainstorming session between executives and district officers at Golden Conifer in Mabelreign on Tuesday this week.
He called on the city executives and the district officers to do their part in saving the city from further sinking.
The town clerk admitted that the city has not been rendering the expected services and as a result residents are no longer paying their rates.
“This is the situation we are facing as council and the executive and district officers have a role to play in rescuing the city from sinking further. We are not able to provide services to the expectations of the residents and as a result they are not paying.”
Eng Chisango told the meeting that senior officials who were on forced leave had resumed their duties and they should be welcomed back into the fold and work together for the good of the city. “Since this is our first meeting this year, it is important that I update you on key developments in the city including the resumption of duty be senior officials who were on forced leave. We have had a situation where some senior officials were on forced leave but they have since resumed duty and I hope that they have settled well. I would like to express our gratitude to those who were holding fort during their absence. Let us work together to improve our city for the good of the residents,” said Eng Chisango.