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Forex shortages grossly affect BCC service delivery

by Staff reporter
02 Jun 2019 at 08:23hrs | Views
THE Bulawayo City Council is getting less than one percent of its revenue collection in forex as the local authority is still struggling to raise foreign currency required to boost some of its service delivery requirements.

The local authority recently came up with a facility to attract forex earners, people in the diaspora as well as from international organisations operating in Zimbabwe in a bid to shore up its depleting coffers.

In the scheme the debtor pays 50 percent of the debt in foreign currency and the remaining 50 percent will be written off.

However, a senior council official revealed that despite that the facility collections were still low hence the local authority was still struggling to meet their foreign currency needs.

The city's chamber secretary, Mrs Sikhangele Zhou, said collections in foreign currency was still hovering around 0,01 percent.

Mrs Zhou was speaking during a BCC-organised public lecture as part of the city's 125-year celebrations. She was reacting to questions raised regarding service delivery in the city and the need to come up with more community projects.

"We have heard all the concerns raised regarding the need for more community projects and service delivery, honestly we are on your side but truth is we have problems accessing foreign currency, as it is we are collecting just about 0,01 percent which is not adequate at all.

"At the end of the day we have a number of foreign currency requirements ourselves hence we are surviving barely from hand to mouth. We thus convened this public lecture hoping that you assist us get solutions that will see us rise from the doldrums where we are currently in," said the chamber secretary.

According to the latest council report the foreign currency incentive failed to perform due to separation of bank balances into RTGS and Nostro as well as removal of the exchange rate of one bond note dollar to one US dollar.

Meanwhile, according to the council report, the local authority is owed a total of $185 410 108 with residents owing $109 882 504, industry and commerce owes; $69 703 462, parastatals and self-funding Ministries owe; $3 658 980 while government owes; $2 165 162.

In terms of future plans to boost their revenue collection the local authority revealed that they will have to explore more pragmatic strategies of funding inclusive of coming up with innovative debt recovery strategies.

"In order to survive the changing economic environment and continue providing world class services, council should vigorously explore pragmatic strategies of funding. Implementation of innovative debt recovery strategies would see this council achieving this vision.

"It is therefore imperative to adopt painful measures that assure the sustainable growth of the city and leave a legacy to future generation. In view of the foregoing the financial director (Mr Kimpton Ndimande) further reported on the need for resuscitation of water disconnection," reads the report.

The local authority further revealed that collection efficiency on the legacy debt had plummeted to less than 40 percent.

"There was therefore need for a serious rethink on council's previous decision not to disconnect water for non-payment of rates and charges," reads the report.

Source - sundaynews