Council Mulls Slashing Bills
GWERU City Council is planning to slash rates owed by local companies by half to allow those in distress to be revived as well as scale up production. The chairperson of the council’s finance committee,
Councillor Albert Chirawu, revealed this at a dinner hosted in the city by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries recently
The local authority which is battling with cashflow problems is owed over $13 million in unpaid rates, water, refuse and sewage bills by companies operating in the city.
In an interview, the local authority’s assistant to the Town Clerk in charge of public relations, Mr Tapiwa Marerwa, said the combined total owed by industry was $7 190 596 in unpaid water, refuse and sewage charges, while $6 084 502 was what industry owed the local authority in unpaid rates to bring the total to $13 275 098.
If implemented, the rates slash will leave industry and commerce owing the local authority $3 million in unpaid rates while the debt on service charges will remain unchanged.
Captains of industry in the city have received the proposal with mixed feelings. Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) Gweru chapter chairperson Mr Wellington
Chinembiri described the proposal by the local authority as a double edged sword.
“The slashing of rates owed to council by industry comes as double edged sword. It’s welcome but we hope it will not seriously affect council’s cashflow system,” he said.
Midlands Metals managing director Mr Tatenda Karimazondo welcomed the debt slash proposal.
“The majority of companies were struggling to pay off what they owed council so this comes as a huge relief to local industry. It’s quite a welcome move,” he said.
Gweru City Council has over the years been struggling to pay employees on time owing to cashflow challenges emanating from reluctance by residents and industry to pay bills.