Govt okays Harare’s $30m loan request
Innocent Ruwende Senior Reporter
Government has approved a request by Harare City Council to borrow $30 million to buy additional refuse trucks and equipment for road maintenance. The city’s corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme yesterday said they had already given orders for the procurement of 30 compactors.
“We are now awaiting delivery,” he said. “We are geared to improve service delivery and retain Harare’s sunshine status in terms of cleanliness and general ambience. The 30 trucks will augment the existing fleet which is suffering constant breakdowns because of old age.
“We are at various stages of procuring other various pieces of equipment.”
The money is also set to be used to revamp parks and cemeteries, capacitate the city’s architect, waste management, Harare Municipal Police, traffic law enforcement and valuation, and estates, among other departments.
Acting town clerk Mrs Josephine Ncube made the application in terms of Section 290 (2) (a) of the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29:15 to the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
“Notice is hereby given in terms of Section 290 (2) (a) of the Urban Councils Act chapter 29:15 that council resolved to borrow a sum not exceeding $30 789 150. Any objection, which ratepayers or voters wish to make must be lodged with the acting town clerk (Mrs Josephine Ncube),” she said.
In 2015, Harare borrowed $3 million from BancABC to finance water production activities following a decline in the city’s revenue flows. The City of Harare recently said it will start repaying its $144 million debt to China-Exim Bank this year with an amount of $72 million having already been committed.
The $144 million loan facility was obtained from China Exim Bank for the rehabilitation of waterworks. The loan was advanced at an interest rate of three percent per annum over a nine year tenure.
Most local authorities are failing to provide basic services to residents due to a decline in revenue inflows, with Harare having untrafficable roads, incessant water cuts and is also failing to collect refuse regularly.
The city says half of Harare residents are not paying their bills, while Government and business are also major defaulters, a situation that has seen council being owed over $615 million.
Acting finance director Mr Tendai Kwenda says Harare collects between 45 and 50 percent of what it bills residents and the situation was now unsustainable.