Find new funds, councils urged

The Herald, June 9, 1984

LOCAL authorities were yesterday urged to seek alternative sources of revenue to supplement existing ones which were “inadequate” to support their increasing needs.

The call was made by the deputy secretary (finance) in the Ministry of Local Government and Town Planning, Cde Dominic Mandaza, when he addressed delegates to the 43rd annual conference of the Association of Urban Councils, which began here two days ago.

Cde Mandaza said many local authority accounts reflected accumulated deficits due to limited sources of revenue and this was aggravated by a faster growth rate of expenditure.

He said that traditional sources of revenue such as vehicle licences, service charges, rents, and rates had reached “saturation point”.

Cde Mandaza said these sources had also become politically objectionable, while at the same time, the “new-look local authorities face acute socio-political challenges for improved services for which they have been created to provide”.

He said local income tax, tax surcharges, and industrial taxes only benefited the central Government, leaving urban authorities with no other alternative but to seek other ways of raising revenue in addition to existing sources.

Cde Mandaza also said the appointment of a tax commission by the Government had provided an opportunity for local authorities to make “strong representations for an equitable sharing of these tax revenues between the central Government and local authorities depending on the responsibilities shouldered by both”.

Cde Mandaza said because education was a “costly service”, neither the central Government nor local authorities could cope on their own without direct input from local people through payment of levies, and self-help projects in the communal lands. He explained however that the Government’s decision to provide 90 percent of district council revenue was “to provide viable local government structures to spearhead development in the communal lands”. — Ziana.


  • Councils have to think out of the box as their traditional revenue sources are dwindling while some have dried up. For instance, Harare City Council used to earn a lot of money through its beer business that operated under Rufaro Marketing but the company is no longer operating and the bars it owns are either being rented without following proper procedures.
  • Councils also need to charge realistic fees on its services to entice ratepayers to pay up so that it is not saddled with a huge debtor’s book.
  • Councils need to deliver satisfactory services to ratepayers and eliminate corruption within its structures to get a buy-in to its initiatives.

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