via Pollution: Councils jostle for loans | The Herald Innocent Ruwende Municipal Reporter June 19, 2014
Government’s tough stance on pollution has forced local authorities -who are among the country’s major polluters – to borrow millions of dollars to rehabilitate sewer and water infrastructure. The Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset) Cluster on Infrastructure and Utilities emphasises the need for robust, elaborate and resilient water and sanitation infrastructure for economic growth.
A Cabinet committee was established to probe causes of water pollution and raw sewage disposal, and to rectify the situation.
The committee last month ordered the closure of all tanneries until they put measures in place to drastically reduce the amount of pollutants they released into water sources.
Further, all other industries were given six weeks to refurbish or install new effluent pre-treatment plants or face closure.
Chitungwiza Town Clerk Mr George Makunde, whose council sought permission to borrow US$25 million last Thursday, said most local authorities were borrowing to rehabilitate water and sewer systems.
“To meet Government requirements on pollution the only route to go is to borrow money to repair sewer and water infrastructure. We are collecting less than 45 percent of our anticipated revenue, hence we are not in a position to fund such huge projects,” he said.
Mr Makunde made the application in terms of Section 290(2)(a) of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter 29:15) to finance rehabilitation of Zengeza Sewage Treatment Works and fund the dormitory town’s retrenchment.
Rehabilitation of waterworks will gobble US$5,5 million while retrenchment requires US$20 million.
In March this year, Bulawayo City Council made an application to Government to borrow over US$13 million to finance work on water infrastructure, sewer lines and roads among other capital projects.
Last Thursday Chinhoyi Municipality made a similar application, seeking to borrow US$5,2 million of which US$3 million was for water rehabilitation and augmentation and US$2,2 million for sewer rehabilitation.
Earlier that week, the City of Kadoma resolved to borrow US$6,9 million to buy tippers, a dozer, grader, water bowser, service trucks, a mayoral vehicle and to meet the costs of sewer and water rehabilitation.
Norton Town Council also made an application to Local Government Minister Dr Ignatius Chombo to rehabilitate the water treatment plant.
In 2010, Harare secured a US$144,4 million loan agreement from China to refurbish water and sewage treatment plants.