By Tawanda Mangoma
Chiredzi — Chiredzi Town Council has started implementing a raft of measures to recover $10 million it is owed by residents and ratepayers, an official has said.
The local authority’s chairperson, Councillor Gibson Hwende, said in an interview recently that they had introduced incentives for those ratepayers who were settling their bills.
He said they were offering a 50 percent discount this month on all outstanding bills to motivate the residents and other ratepayers.
“We are owed over $10 million in unpaid rates and given the pressing economic challenges we have resolved to offer the residents of Chiredzi an early Christmas present in the form of a 50 percent discount on the rates,” said Cllr Hwende.
He said the non-payment of rates and services had seen them struggling to pay employees’ salaries in the last decade, apart from slowing down on service delivery.
He said the local authority’s monthly revenue collections continued to decline, which prompted them to offer discounts.
“It is worrisome that we are collecting less than 30 percent of our targeted revenue and failing to operate effectively.
“This is also a clear indication that residents are struggling to settle bills. As council, we saw it wise to offer them a discount,” said Cllr Hwende.
He said residents, Government agencies and businesses should make use of the incentive, which ends at on January 6 next year.
Cllr Hwende said they continued to engage those with arrears to pay up to improve on their viability and capacity to deliver quality services.
“We believe that this initiative will help us collect enough revenue to recapitalise and solve all our outstanding statutory obligations with Zimra and NSSA among others,” he said.
Chiredzi Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association chairman Mr Jonathan Muusha commended the local authority for the discount.
He said there was also a need for them to aggressively market and sell the idea to all their debtors.
“This is a good move and our hope is that this message should reach all the ratepayers to elicit the desired response,” said Mr Muusha.
In 2017, the local authority was slapped with a garnishee order by Zimra for failing to settle its arrears with the revenue authority.
Source : The Herald