Harare City Council has so far registered 30 000 residents through the electronic bill payment system that can be sent through mobile phones and e-mail, as a way of improving both revenue and service delivery.
Harare, which is owed more than $658 million, has 265 000 properties in its database. Council started the e-billing system in November last year. In an interview, Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said e-bills were a convenient, secure and friendly way of delivering information to customers.
“We have begun sending e-bills to our customers,” he said. “This is in line with our modernisation and vision of becoming a world class city by 2025. Customers can now receive their bills on WhatsApp and e-mail.
“So far, close to 30 000 people are receiving e-bills. What has improved is the efficiency in bill receipt by residents, who can now also pay their bills from where ever they may be through our e-bill payment platform on our website and through the other payment platforms.” Mr Chideme urged residents to adapt to the new system.
“This system provides convenience and promotes ease of doing business,” he said. “We are encouraging all property owners to submit their phone numbers and e-mail addresses. As part of the city’s efforts to improve revenue collection, Harare is also using the Geographic Information System (GIS) to capture more properties for billing.”
Recently, Mr Chideme said e-bills would soon replace the old system after council registered all residents on its database. The city has over the years failed to provide basic services such as refuse collection, constant supply of water as well as pay employees on time. Residents owe council in excess of $249 million, while the municipality owes its workers six months’ salary worth over $20 million. Last year, Harare City Council served about 20 000 defaulters with summons to attach property as it moved to recover money owed in unpaid bills by residents.