Michael Magoronga, Midlands Correspondent
ZIBAGWE Rural District Council in the Midlands province is struggling to recover more than $56 milllion owed to the council by ratepayers and companies, a development which has threatened to derail effective service delivery.
The development has also seen the council failing to clear its arrears which have since ballooned to $14 million.
Speaking during a full council meeting, Zibagwe RDC chief executive officer Mr Farayi Desmond Machaya said the debtors continue to struggle in honoring their obligations to the rural authority despite continuous engagement.
“Our debtors as at 30 June 2021 owe us $56 076 889. There is continuous engagement for them to make debt settlement plans. The non-compliance by most of our debtors is affecting our capacity to liquidate our creditors as they fall due and also in the provision of service delivery,” said Mr Machaya.
Mr Machaya said revenue collection remains low mostly owing to effects of Covid-19 pandemic.
“The total revenue realized for the second quarter of 2021 amounted to $23 million against a quarterly budget of $42 million which translates to 39 percent quarterly budget performance. Our revenue increased by 62 percent in the second quarter. We are however hopeful that the roll out of the vaccination programme, the economy will be fully opened thus further increasing revenue collection,” he said.
He however, lauded Government for timeously releasing Devolution funds which have come in handy for the council.
“We have received $28 million which is 16 percent of our annual budget allocation of $173 million. Of the amount we received, $3,7 million is still in our accounts. The money has come in handy and helped improve livelihoods in the district, through drilling of boreholes, construction of classroom blocks and clinics amongst other projects,” he said.
Zibagwe also received $16 million from Zinara for the Emergency Road Rehabilitation Programme and a further $1,9 million for routine road maintenance.
Despite the Covid-19 financially induced challenges, Mr Machaya said the council will remain resolute.
“Council continued to be resilient in the face of significant uncertainty created by the Covid-19 pandemic and several lockdowns imposed by authorities to curb the spread of the deadly pandemic. Increased revenue collection, reduced operational costs and improved employee productivity are a panacea to our persistent challenges,” he said.