GWERU City Council has, for the third time running, failed to pay its workers on time, citing cashflow problems as the local authority struggles to improve its monthly revenue collections, a senior council official has revealed.
BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
Chamber secretary Vakai Chikwekwe, in a statement, said council was not in a position to meet its salary obligations due to cashflow challenges.
“Council is not in a position to meet the salary payment deadline for September for middle, senior management and grades 1 to 7 employees. The reason for the delay is that we have dwindling revenue inflows,” he said.
Last month, finance director Edgar Mwedzi revealed that from January to date, monthly employment costs stood at $1 229 780 with an average net salary of $737 225 against monthly collections of $1 510 018, with monthly financial obligations surpassing revenue.
Mwedzi said council’s financial position was affecting operations and service delivery at the local authority.
“While our average monthly commitments came to $2 265 171, the average monthly collections of $1 510 018 leave a shortfall of $755 153 on a monthly basis,” he said.
A 2018 budget review report for the period January to August showed that Gweru owes workers over $4 642 048 in salaries.
The cash-strapped local authority announced that starting this year, it would dole out residential stands to employees in lieu of outstanding salaries and bonuses.
In June, employees signed a deal where the local authority which would settle their bills using money from unpaid overtime earnings.
Last month, Mwedzi said council owed $50 205 690, including Zesa Holdings ($26 813 028), Local Authorities Pensions Fund ($12 553 167), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority ($5 463 349), leave pay provision, ($3 729 561), Zimbabwe Development Fund($285 640), while other payables consumed $1 360 945.
Meanwhile, council and the Midlands State University (MSU) are working on modalities to forge a partnership that will see the higher learning institution providing critical skills and services to enable the local authority to improve service delivery.
Pro-vice chancellor business development and administration, Kadmiel Wekwete, revealed at the 2018 budget review meeting held at the MSU main campus last week that through the partnership, MSU would provide council with “critical knowledge, services and innovations” to improve the quality of the city’s operations.
The local authority, on the other hand, is also expected to afford students an opportunity for work-related learning so that they could gain practical experience at the same time providing human capital to council.
“We are interested in resources for services such as health, education and housing,” Wekwete said.
“This is very critical because whether you are staff or student, you will need to be housed somewhere and so we would like to reflect on the budget to see how much it covers some of those important areas.”
Wekwete also said MSU expected council to allocate resources for sport and recreational facilities in the budget since the institution (MSU) was very active in sporting activities.