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HCC debt balloons to ZWL$486.58bn

CLOUDINE MATOLA

The total amount  owed to Harare City Council (HCC) by residents , government departments, commercial and industrial entities  has ballooned to ZW$486.58bn  in the first nine months of this year from ZW$96.07bn reported in January  , representing a 91% increase , Business Times can report.

 

The huge is impeding the local authority’s ability  to provide adequate service.

The city’s water supply, road maintenance, and trash collection are just a few of the services that HCC has been struggling to provide to the people.

HCC’s Finance and Development Committee Chairperson Costa Mande confirmed the skyrocketing debtors’ book, stating that part of the reason for the service delivery gap is the rate payers’ inability to pay their debts.

 

“The debtor’s position remains a challenge as there is now a dilemma where residents say deliver we pay and we say pay and we deliver. In light of this, we battle to deliver services,” he said.

Mande said that the council is now in a terrible financial position with regard to funding service delivery operations.

 

According to Mande, the council will implement plans that will facilitate debt recovery in 2024.

 

“In the 2024 financial year, we intend to implement strategies to recover this debt as our performance in collection of revenue has a direct bearing on budget performance and also on service delivery.

Some of the strategies include timeous efficient bill delivery, improving service delivery, performance management framework and dealing with revenue leakages,” he said.

Due to their ongoing cash flow constraints, the city council’s creditors increased in value from ZW$12.79bn on January 1, 2023, to ZW$193.65bn  as of September 30, 2023.

According to Mande, the  major drivers of the rapidly increasing creditors are the statutory obligation, electricity, trade creditors, and salaries.

“The major drivers to the creditor’s position are statutory obligation at 35.20%, electricity (20.70%), trade creditors (17.15%), salaries (13.11%) and water chemicals (13.79%),” he said.


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