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BCC to intensify debt collection through service restriction

by Staff reporter
26 Apr 2021 at 06:34hrs | Views
BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has warned that it will soon cut water supplies and withdraw other services to residents in rates arrears.

In a notice to residents, town clerk Christopher Dube yesterday said the council would embark on stringent measures to compel residents to honour their debts.

"The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public that we will be intensifying debts collection through service restrictions and other measures to all residential and commercial properties whose accounts are in arrears," Dube said.

"The exercise will be carried out on the weekend of April 24-25. You are encouraged to pay your accounts and bring them up to date or make suitable arrangements so that you are not inconvenienced by these measures."

Residents last year opposed council's proposed $21 billion budget, arguing that the budget consultative process was flawed.

The latest council report, however, shows that city fathers are saying that council was financially incapacitated to fund the $10 billion capital budget, hence the need to apply for borrowing powers.

"Currently council has a capital budget of $10 697 798 003,52 for the 2021 financial year. Council has no capacity to fund this capital budget from its own resources.

"It was, therefore, imperative for the council to apply for borrowing powers of $4 23 548 498 equivalent to US$51 886 345 to fund various capital projects ...," the report reads in part.

In terms of section 290 of the Urban Councils Act and section 65 of the Public Finance Management Act, councils can apply for borrowing powers for the acquisition or construction of permanent works or undertakings, the acquisition of immovable property, the making of advances authorised by this or any other Act, the payment of compensation, the liquidation of the principal moneys owing on account of any previous loan, the relief of general distress occasioned by some calamity in the council area and the acquisition of plant, equipment, vehicles.

Of the $4 billion, council said it would channel $1 450 714 698 towards water infrastructure rehabilitation and the remainder $332 910 000 (sewerage infrastructure), $863 450 000 (acquisition and development of land), $894 748 800 (roads construction and rehabilitation), $407 000 000 (landfill site new cell development) and $274 725 000 for the acquisition of plant, equipment and vehicles.

In June 2018, the council also applied for borrowing powers of US$100 million and US$26 million payable over 10 years.

It shelved the idea after the introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar.

Source - newsday
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