HARARE – The Harare City Council has said it will prioritise paying off its water and health debts over its electricity bill.
This emerged at a pre-budget consultative meeting with the business community at Town House.
According to the 2013 income and expenditure statement, the HCC by September 30 owed Zesa $50,8 million while government owed the city $42 million.
Thomas Muzuwa, the deputy mayor, told the Daily News the city was making the acquisition of water purification chemicals its number one priority.
“If we start by paying this outstanding (electricity) bill, people will die by drinking unhealthy water. We are prioritising the residents’ health and water over everything else,” Muzuwa said.
Muzuwa said council was looking at ways to generate revenue, including forming a company that will manage council properties.
“We have several businesses in plan and the City of Harare has 11 500 houses and also buildings around the city, so if we form a company to run those houses, it would help,” he said.
“We also have 4 200 tables at Siya So market, around 1 500 tables in Mupedzanhamo, around 2 000 tables in Mbare retail market…so if we sweat those assets, we will complement the rates income.”
He said council has to expand its revenue base in order to meet its expenditure.
The June bill write-off affected council finances, with $330 million cleared off the books.
However as of September 30, residents had already accumulated a debt of $40,1 million, while industry and corporates owed $130 million.
Misheck Mubvumbi, the treasury director, also told the business community that stringent measures would be taken against defaulters.
Mubvumbi said residents would be given a leeway of three months to clear their debts or risk being disconnected and issued with summons.