Harare municipality revenue 17pct below target, ratepayers owe $380mln

Harare municipality revenue 17pct below target, ratepayers owe $380mln

HARARE, September 28 (The Source) – The Harare City Council says its revenue collection is “heavily constrained” and is running 17 percent below target amid increasing defaults by ratepayers.

Finance Director Justin Mandizha on Monday told stakeholders at a meeting to discuss the city’s 2016 budget that revenue collections were 17 percent below target at $172,3 million as of August.

“The city’s revenue collection capacity is heavily constrained. We are only able to collect about 55 percent of our billing,” Mandizha said.

“As we talk the city is owed $380 million in unpaid bills with industry and commerce constituting the greater part of that debt at about $140 million.”

Residents owe the city $221,8 million while government departments have debts totalling $11,7 million. Dormitory towns owe Harare $5,6 million.

He said the city’s expenditure on salaries and allowances needed to be adjusted in line with dwindling revenue inflows.

As of August the city had paid $81,9 million in salaries and allowances from a budgeted $74,1 million for the eight months.

It owed creditors $171,4 million, with $70 million of that being owed to ZESA, in the same period.