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Gweru City Council rejects request to slash rates

AUDREY JAMBAWO

Gweru City Council says it cannot slash tariffs by half as requested by residents since the 2021 financial budget has already been approved by central government.

Gweru City has implemented a ZWL$1.99bn budget for 2021, an increase of 146% from the 2020 budget.

Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee told Business Times that the city needs to maximise revenue collection to provide quality services.

“Unfortunately as a local authority we will not approve the proposal to slash the rates coming from some residents. That was the approved 2021 budget and it became law when approved by the Minister of Local Government. And as a local authority to make sure that we continue to provide quality service we need to get revenue and the revenue comes from the people that we provide service to.

“We cannot function without money, the engine of the local authority is revenue,” Chingwaramusee said.

But Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association Executive Director Cornilia Selipiwe said they will keep pressing for the tariffs to be reduced.

“We had actually hoped our local authority would consider our position, all that we wanted was an implementation matrix in terms of how they were going to implement their approved budget. We had requested for them to implement 50% first from January to June and then the other 50% from June to December. We are only happy that they replied our letter and gave us their position people do not have any disposable income and they are likely not going to pay the new rates,” Selipiwe said.

He said they were going to engage the District Administrator, the Minister of State for Midlands Province Larry Mavima and Local Government minister July Moyo.

Gweru City Council is owed more than ZWL$500m in unpaid rates by residents, companies and government institutions.

The non-payment of rates has resulted in the local authority failing to provide an efficient service delivery. The local authority has sent final letters of demand to residents but they have vowed that they will not pay the rates which they feel are too high.

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