MUTARE– Local authorities are facing viability challenges due to pilling domestic debt mostly owed by private businesses, parastatals and government entities, Mutare City Deputy Mayor Kudakwashe Chisango has revealed.
For Mutare City Council this debt has ballooned to US$74 million in outstanding debts by residents and ratepayers.
It’s a similar situation in Kwekwe where the mayor for the city, Madam Angelina Kasipo reports that the government, commerce and industry are its biggest debtors owing ZW$405, 181,744 while residents account for ZW$258,251,115.
Chisango made the remarks while presenting at a residents interface organized Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ).
He said the debt was compromising the municipality’s capacity to effectively provide services to residents.
The city requires at least US$24 million to upgrade its roads and meet the requirements of the smart city status. Mutare business community owes the local municipality millions in unpaid rates and levies, prejudicing its capacity to provide quality service delivery.
“The debt is ballooning as residents continue failing to pay for services rendered. This is compromising our service delivery mandate.
“Our road network, which is more than 504km, requires urgent rehabilitation. At least US$24 million is required to upgrade the roads and achieve the smart city status,” said Cllr Chisango.
In a statement on the accruing domestic debt, Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) said resource mobilization at local authority level should explore innovative ways of engaging the private sector in municipal service provision.
“Public service delivery has become problematic in Kwekwe as Kwekwe City Council is said to be failing to effectively discharge its mandate because of outstanding rates which are estimated at more than ZW$600 million.
“The greatest challenge for the local authority is to deliver viable services. It is imperative to note that in this regard citizens continue to suffer as they will bear government consequences of its failure to honor its debt through poor service delivery.
“Another critical point to note is that, from the statistics presented, two-thirds of the debt is owed by government while a 1/3 is being owed by Kwekwe residents. The greatest part of industry is not operational in-fact, closed and cannot even pay its workers, while most companies are closed, they are still accruing debt,” read the statement.
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