Harare expenditure outstrips income

Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
Beleaguered Harare City Council is collecting between $13 million and $20 million monthly, while spending $12 million on salaries and $8 million on fuel, leaving the council with no money earmarked for service delivery.

This has exposed the local authority that is reportedly losing US$20 million in potential advertising revenue annually due to its failure to account for takings, money that could be channelled towards essential services.

Harare is also struggling to implement a cocktail of measures to plug financial leakages after having spent at least a year without a billing system and installed a new computerised system that is also proving to be ineffective.

Addressing journalists at town house yesterday over the city’s financial position, Harare’s Information and Publicity committee chairperson councillor Barnabas Ndira refused to take blame on their failure maximise on untapped revenue sources.

“Our water treatment chemical bill is now over $35 million while our monthly expected collections are $24 million which we hardly collect,” he said.

“Our collections are between $13 and $20 million.

“Our expenditure has overshot our collections in just one service delivery mandate water. This is because suppliers of treatment chemicals are indexing their prices against the interbank rate. Monthly council requires $8 million for fuel and $12 million for salaries among other costs.”

Councillor Ndira said they were owed more than $987 000 000 million by residents, churches, Government and businesses.

“Most of the services offered by council are unfunded as ratepayers have decided to abandon their obligations,” he said.

“Until a superior revenue collection model is secured, the city will continue to lower its offering of municipal services.

“The huge debts owed by the various stakeholders have become a stumbling block to council’s efforts to providing first class service delivery. We cannot over emphasise that the debts owed to council have put surmountable pressure on council’s financial budget and are hindering development.”

Councillor Ndira thanked Government for availing the city $37,4 million to mitigate water problems.

“We want to thank Government for the funds, but more resources are needed if we are to meet our obligations,” he said.

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