Sunday, November 28, 2021
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Govt institutions owe council $100m

Masvingo City council offices

Clayton Shereni

MASVINGO-
Government departments and institutions owe city of Masvingo close to $100m in
unpaid bills, it was revealed during a full council meeting held recently.
Organisations that resorted to using borehole water have also contributed to
this ballooning debt as they become reluctant to pay their dues to the council.

Institutions
which have topped the list over the years include Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP), Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Service (ZPCS), Zimbabwe National Army
(ZNA), colleges and schools.

“The
report of the Finance Director on Institutional Debtors totaling $99 350 261.52
for the month of April 2021 was noted. It was highlighted that institutions
with boreholes were reluctant to settle their bills since they would rely on
borehole water,” read council minutes.

Some
councilors had previously advised council management to enforce payment by
closing all ‘illegal’ boreholes at these institutions.

“The
Committee raised concern on increasing number of illegal boreholes in the
commonage, also raising fears that the borehole water would be connected to the
municipal water system thereby exposing the whole city to potential
contamination.

“The
Acting Director of Engineering Services was therefore instructed to prepare a
full list of boreholes in the city with a view to close all illegal boreholes
and charge them a fine for illegal installation of the same,” the minutes read.

Speaking
during a recently held full council meeting, Ward 10 Cllr Sengerayi Manyanga
said the council’s finance department were not active enough to engage debtors
and make them pay.

“The
Acting Finance Director and his team must go on the ground and engage debtors.
They are just sitting in the offices yet we want money here. Things are not
good for us and if we look at other cities, they are performing better than us
in terms of revenue collection,” said Manyanga.

Council
has since resolved to hand over all institutional debtors who have failed to
come forward with valid payment plans to debt collectors.

This
is not the first time council has threatened to unleash debt collectors on
institutions.

Last
year they threatened to engage debtors over ZRP’s then $11 million debt.

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