By Stephen Chadenga
GWERU City Council has resolved to introduce a dual pricing system for the convenience of residents offering to settle their bills in foreign currency, a senior council official said yesterday.
Council spokesperson Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the local authority would soon adopt the resolution at an ordinary council meeting.
“We are considering dual pricing according to Statutory Instrument (SI) 185 of 2020,” Chingwaramusee said.
“We will go through full council for adoption as the SI says all the water and rates bills will be sent to ratepayers who will choose whether to pay in United States dollars or local currency.”
She said once the resolution is adopted, council would start sending water and rate bills in local and foreign currencies, respectively.
Currently, there is no facility at the local authority for ratepayers to pay bills in foreign currency.
Other municipalities have since adopted dual pricing as most businesses now prefer using US dollars ahead of the unstable local currency.
But Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association director Cornelia Selipiwe said the move was “ridiculous” as few people would want to part with hard currency given the huge disparity between the official and black market exchange rates.
“All they want is to collect US dollars, but who would want to part with such currency given that the official rate is far below the black market rate,” Selipiwe said.
“Council should have advocated for a liberal exchange rate which would attract people to pay in foreign currency.”
He said the move to introduce dual pricing was being done without the input of relevant stakeholders.