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By Innocent Ruwende
Harare City Council has provisionally extended to October 31, the window within which ratepayers who settle their debts will enjoy a 50 percent discount of the amount paid following a request from residents who want the promotion to run until December.
The promotion was supposed to run until yesterday and residents at various council offices were jostling to make payments so they could benefit from the reprieve.
Most residents are struggling to pay their municipal bills, with Harare now being owed $800 million by residents, Government and business.
The city’s fortunes have been improving since it introduced the discount offer, with council raking in $17 million for the month of September, a record which has not been achieved for the past four years.
The capital is now expecting between $20 to 25 million in October the month in which the 50 percent discount promotion expires.
Harare was collecting between $10 million and $12 million from potential monthly collections of $22 million.
In an interview yesterday, Harare corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said the city had provisionally extended the discount.
“We are evaluating the request. Council will meet soon to deliberate on the appeal by ratepayers. We will always be amenable to the interests of the people,” he said.
The Harare Residents Trust urged the City of Harare to extend the promotion until 31 December 2018 “so that more money is generated from ratepayers who know their financial obligations, but are unable to pay in full the rates charged by the council”.
“The 50 percent rates discount is recognition by the council that the residents cannot pay in full their financial obligations,” said HRT.
A resident Mr Michael Wumangwa Chuma hailed the discount initiative.
“This is a brilliant move by our City of Harare management to offer discounts to our citizens. It must continue for the next 12 months.
“I think CZI must identify banks, Econet, Telone, Telecel, Breweries, all fuel companies, blue chip businesses excelling in our era must contribute something to our council monthly in these economic difficult times,” he said.