Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter
Harare City Council is devising various strategies, including incentive schemes for discounts, in a bid to recover more than $400 million it is owed by various stakeholders.
The city’s finance director Mr Justin Mandizha said in an interview that after noting the difficult position the residents are in, given the current economic situation, the city came up with various incentives to entice the business community and residents to pay.
“The city is only in a position to render services to residents if residents pay for the services. Noting the difficult position the residents are in, given the current economic situation the city devised incentive schemes for discounts. This scheme ran up to 31 January 2016.
“More importantly, the city has also devised a scheme whereby residents can agree on some payment plans with the Credit Control Division. Such arrangements are meant to ensure that residents are not inconvenienced with water cuts,” he said.
Mr Mandizha said the city now has an elaborate revenue generation and collection strategy whose results shall be discernible in the immediate, intermediate and long terms.
He said the discount schemes the city has been running are one of the many components of this strategy which is starting to bear fruit.
The city currently has a salary backlog of two months, with the third month currently under payment.
Mr Mandizha said like any other organisation operating in the current environment, the city has liquidity challenges, hence, issues in meeting obligations exactly when they fall due.
“Cooperative arrangements on the obligations have however ensured that the city progressively meets its obligations.”
Commercial properties owe the city $174 million, industry $37 million, domestic consumers $149 million, Government /public entities $15 million, sundry debtors and general sectors $29 million.
“We continue to encourage residents to engage the Credit Control Division at Rowan Martin Building to make payment plans, rather than risk disruption of services. We realise this is a win-win arrangement.”
Harare City Council last year served about 20 000 defaulters with summons to attach properties, as it moved to recover money owed in unpaid bills by residents.
The city served the 20 000 households in Borrowdale, Mabvuku, Mt Pleasant, Highlands, Mabelreign, Marlborough and other suburbs with summons to attach properties.