Govt pays $23m towards Harare’s debt

Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Government has started clearing Harare City Council’s $32 million debt to Chemplex for water treatment chemicals, with $23 million having been paid last week, the company’s chief executive, Mr Tapuwa Alvin Mashingaidze, has said.

The debt has accumulated over the years, forcing Chemplex to cut supplies to the local authority, which started struggling to treat water, resulting in it having to shut down its water treatment plant.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Mashingaidze said Government, through council, has since paid the larger amount of debt.

“A large part of what we are owed by Harare City Council was paid just last week,” he said. “We were paid $23 million, thanks to Government’s efforts. It was paid through the City of Harare and on to us.”

The debt was paid from the $42 million released by Government last month channelled to Harare to enable it to procure water treatment chemicals as part of interim measures to deal with the capital’s water woes after it shut down Morton Jaffray waterworks, exposing residents to deadly diseases.

The water treatment plant has since been reopened.

The funds were an addition to the $37,4 million released by Treasury for water infrastructure projects.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Acting Permanent Secretary Retired Colonel Joseph Mhakayakora recently said paying off the debt to suppliers of water treatment chemicals will enable Harare to build its stocks.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) identified City of Harare as the main polluter of Lake Chivero — the city’s major water source — through discharging raw sewage.

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