Bills inflation-adjusted: HCC
MUNICIPAL bills appearing with backdated increments are figures that were adjusted according to inflation, Harare City Council spokesperson Michael Chideme has said.
This comes as several Harare residents received high bills for their May and April rates.
Chideme told the Daily News on Monday that the high bills were reflecting the economic situation in the country where council had adjusted the amounts within the confines of the law.
Harare’s 2020 budget, which was only approved two months ago, came after the city had also presented a supplementary document to the ministry of Local Government after noticing that the figures were no longer in sync with the trends around them.
“The purported increased backdated bills are inflation-adjusted in line with the supplementary budget. This was done to ensure that municipal services are not disrupted through underpayment and underfunding,” he said.
The council spokesperson emphasised that prices of goods and services have changed several times and as a service provider they had to keep in touch with current pricing models.
However, residents feel that by adjusting the rates now, they are opening it up to manipulation as ratepayers could get inflated figures for their bills.
Harare mayor Herbert Gomba said the problem is that council bills residents in bond notes and RTGS and must look for foreign currency to procure 80 percent of the chemicals because they are not locally produced.
Gomba said all of the money council was collecting right now was going towards the purchase of chemicals as local authorities were now left at the mercy of the interbank market since the government no longer provided them with the foreign currency.
“We want chemicals that are tailor-made to fix the Harare situation. We want people to produce chemicals at Morton Jaffray and feed into the plant without the additional costs of duty and transport. At the moment, most of our expenses are in foreign currency and if we had left the billing at the 2019 rate, we would not be able to provide any service to the people of Harare,” Gomba said.