BY STEPHEN CHADENGA
GWERU debtors’ bill increased to over $700 million as at May 31, 2021, a rise of more than $463 million in a space of five months from $295 million as at the end of December last year, Southern Eye has learnt.
Mayor Josiah Makombe yesterday said the debt was affecting service delivery.
“The debtors bill increased to $759 757 762 as at May 31, 2021,” Makombe said in an interview.
“This means that the bill increased by more than $463 million in the first five months of this year. The outstanding bill is of great concern to us because failure by residents to honour their obligations has a direct bearing on service delivery. We urge residents to prioritise paying their bills.”
He added: “Recently, we waived the interest on debts and we urge residents to take advantage of this gesture to pay their bills.”
Makombe said the municipality owed over $223 million to service providers.
He said of the total amount owed to creditors, $210 million was due to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zesa and the pension fund.
Recently, council threatened to attach the property of ratepayers with outstanding bills, although it later backed down.
But Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust executive director David Chikore said some residents were deliberately not paying their bills because they want them to be itemised.
“We have reiterated that council provide to all ratepayers, individual itemised bills so that each ratepayer can authenticate the validity of the components that constitute his or her debt,” he said.
Over the years, some residents have been refusing to settle bills arguing that estimated bills were not what they owed council.
Early this year, the local authority said it was introducing a new billing system, but it is yet to be implemented.