Council battles govt over unpaid $2,5m

The cash-strapped Mutare City Council is failing to meet its revenue collection target as government departments continue to default.

The non-payment of debts by government departments has affected service delivery in Mutare.
The non-payment of debts by government departments has affected service delivery in Mutare.

In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Finance Director Lloyd Musasa said the local authority was owed more than $15 million by defaulting residents and businesses as well as government departments.

It is struggling to recover over $2,5 million owned by government departments – notably the Ministry of Youth – $600,000, Zimbabwe Republic Police – $181 817.19, Ministry of Defence – $286 012, Zimbabwe Prison Services – $30 457.12 and Mutare Provincial Hospital – $400 000. Musasa said several households were failing to pay rates and thus their bills were ballooning each month. “At present we are collecting an average of $1,2 million per month, which is falling short of a targeted $1,5 million. There are families that are not paying anything. They are now in arrears,” he said.

“About $750 000 a month goes to net salaries. From the remainder we have to squeeze statutory payments, service delivery and other operations that enable the everyday activities,” Musasa said.

The council’s finance committee last week said it would appeal to Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to help recover the debts.

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