Water Bills To Be Charged In Forex

HARARE - The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) will next January start issuing water bills in foreign currency, a government minister has said.

Water Resources and Infrastructural Development deputy minister Walter
Muzembi said this week the under-performing parastatal will start
charging for water usage in US dollars.

"We are also aware of that as from next year the reserve bank is
shedding off its quasi-fiscal activities so we must begin to evolve
strategies and solutions to revive the water sector that go beyond the
interventions of the reserve bank.

"Part of that would be dollarisation. We think that beginning next month, we should be able to issue water bills in US dollars."

This he said was the only available model to sustain the operations of
ZINWA, which has depended largely on the central bank for

Central bank governor Gideon Gono last month pledged to abandon its
controversial quasi-fiscal policies that saw all government entities
depending on it to sustain their operations.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe , through their quasi-fiscal activities,
has supported our efforts to make sure that chemicals are there on

Muzembi said.

"We are aware the size of the cake is too small while the responsibilities are too many.

Government says it has no foreign currency to import water purifying chemicals.

Most suburbs in Zimbabwe have gone for months without any water forcing
residents to depend on already contaminated shallow wells to source for
the necessity.

This has given rise to a severe outbreak of the deadly cholera disease
that has claimed nearly 600 lives and left thousands hospitalized.

Nearly 300 000 are still vulnerable to the disease. Government has since declared the cholera outbreak a national disaster.

Meanwhile, government’s plans to peg water tariffs in forex have
attracted criticism from the largely poor Harare residents who still do
not have formal means of acquiring foreign currency.

Most Zimbabweans toil every day to source for foreign currency on the
illegal but thriving black market to try and keep with the pressures of
living within a hyper inflationary environment, the world’s highest,
officially pegged at 231 million percent.


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