Zimbabwe: Cash-strapped Gweru hires debt collectors
Cash-strapped Gweru City Council has hired debt collectors in an attempt to collect money owed by residents amid revelations the council owes service providers more than $ 280 million.
A list of debtors and creditors seen by The Herald indicates that the city of Gweru owes, among others, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), TelOne and Local Authorities Pensions Fund (LAPF).
The City of Gweru owes ZETDC $ 196,174,605, LAPF $ 37,654.810, Zimra $ 42,657,403, TelOne $ 1,067,573 and others $ 6,310,610.
It is understood that some creditors are now threatening to sue the advice.
City spokeswoman Ms. Vimbai Chingwaramusee confirmed the figures due to service providers. She said residents owed city council more than $ 900 million in unpaid bills, hence the decision to hire debt collectors. As of July 31, departments owed the council $ 58,783,254, heavy industrial site $ 55,790,193, light industrial site $ 39,099,711, domestic $ 541,966,683, commercial $ 130,923,905, other $ 99,243,463 bearing the debt total to the board at $ 925 807 210.
Ms Chingwaramusee said the council hired debt collectors to force debtors to pay their bills.
She said if the council’s debt was paid in full, they would be able to pay their creditors and keep money to improve service delivery.
“We continue to issue final notices and for those who do not respond, we take the legal route leading to the issuance of a summons,” said Ms. Chingwaramusee.
Mayor Josiah Makombe attributed the increase in debtors’ bills to taxpayer reluctance.
“The budget has been underperforming due to the unwillingness of residents and other stakeholders to pay their bills,” he said.
Mayor Makombe said that due to non-payment of bills by taxpayers, the council is now struggling to clear its debt to service providers, especially Zimra, ZETDC and LAPF.
“Residents might be interested to know that on May 17, 2021, the ZETDC turned us off at our water treatment plants due to debt and did not restore supplies until after we committed to a payment plan. monthly of $ 13 million, ”he said.
In June, Mayor Makombe said Zimra seized council accounts for more than $ 44 million and the council paid $ 14,253,098 for the collector to lift the garnishment.
While revenue collection increased in the first half of the year, monthly collections remained low, Mayor Makombe said, with $ 464,889,027 raised.