Blessings Chidakwa Municipal Correspondent
MDC-Alliance-run Harare City Council is mulling a new tax under which all registered businesses in the capital will contribute a certain percentage for capital development.
In a tacit admission that council has failed to transform the city, council bosses want Government to fund infrastructure development, especially roads and water.
This came out yesterday when Harare Mayor Councillor Herbert Gomba, town clerk Engineer Hosiah Chisango and acting finance director Mr Stanley Ndemera, appeared before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development on Financial Devolution.
The committee is chaired by Chikomba Central legislator Cde Felix Mhona.
“We are also looking at other taxes that are charged by business which we don’t have access to. We are expecting to say if some reforms can be made to say that a percentage of the actual business that is done by businesspeople in Harare, there is a tax that automatically comes to the city so that we can then develop infrastructure and also other services so that we can build our city,” said Eng Chisango.
It was not immediately ascertained what percentage the council was aiming to collect.
Eng Chisango further said the current property tax they were collecting was way too low for them to engage in meaningful development.
He pleaded for the city to be permitted to follow the United States model where central government collects revenue and allocates a certain percentage to the provincial local authority.
Eng Chisango requested that central Government should fund council’s capital projects.
“We are looking at issues of infrastructure and issues of investment where we are saying we are behind on water and roads infrastructure,” he said.
As City of Harare moves into the budget process for this year, he said, it had restricted itself to looking at essential issues.
“We are just looking at water, sanitation and roads issues to work on the infrastructure, to see if we can catch up, but we also need assistance at national level in terms of these budgets.
“We are looking here at sources of water, new water sources that we have been talking about, Kunzvi and Musami dams, which can bring relief to Harare and sister local authorities of Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Norton.”