Lovemore Zigara Midlands Correspondent
HOTELIERS in the Gweru have bemoaned the high rates being charged by council, which they say are not feasible under the current operating environment. They said the backdating of refuse collection charges and water bills to the pre-multi-currency era was pushing them out of business.
Fairmile Motel, a three-star hotel, is being charged just over $1 000 by council every month despite the fact that refuse collection was erratic. The motel manager, Mr Elphas Munyimi, told The Herald that the cost of refuse collection was too high.
“We are having challenges with the rates that are being charged by council for refuse collection if you consider at times they do not collect the refuse. There is need for them to revise those charges so that they are slashed by half from the $1 200 we are paying every month,” he said.
Mr Munyimi called on the Midlands chapter of the Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe (HAZ) to intervene on their behalf. Midlands Hotel director Mr Hamutendi Kombayi said he is also engaging council over the issue as the number of bins at their hotel were now fewer, but they were still being charged the same amounts. HAZ coordinator Mr Tom Nyirenda said they will engage council on the matter including the issue of backdated water bills, which were based on estimates.
“We will engage the local authority because this threatens the viability of the sector. We want to see council charging reasonable rates, which are business friendly that promote investment. We also have challenges of water bills which were backdated and most players are still stuck with them because businesses were not included when Government ordered the scrapping of water bills in 2013. We want to find common ground with council so that we move forward,” he said.