TellZim News Reporter
CHIREDZI – The seeming reluctance on the part of government and the corporate sector to clear their rate arrears with Chiredzi Town Council is militating against efforts to improve service delivery, TellZim News has been told.
In an interview, town secretary Charles Muchatukwa revealed that council was owed in excess of five million US dollars mainly by government and the business sector.
"The business community owes us $3 047 225, government departments and institutions $332 883, the markets $872 666 and residents $833 684. Business seems unwilling to pay rates and we are suing those who do not want to pay what they owe," said Muchatukwa.
He praised ordinary residents for making huge efforts to clear their rate arrears from a whopping two million US dollars last year to the current figure.
Muchatukwa also said council had a huge service delivery backlog especially in the neglected areas like Makondo and its workers were going for months without pay due to erratic revenue inflows.
Town chairperson Francis Mayo also lamented what he called was a propensity to quickly complain over perceived incidences of poor service delivery when no similar zeal is displayed when it comes to payment of rates.
"The problem we have as council is that the very people who complain over service delivery are the same people with high bills yet to be paid. We have workers with four months without pay and all that is caused by non-payment of rates; our main source of revenue," said Moyo.
In most towns and cities, government departments like security services, education and health institutions owe millions of dollars' worth of unpaid rates.
Earlier this year, City of Masvingo cut off water supplies to the provincial education offices at Wigley House due to continuous non-payment of rates.
As of January 2016, the city was owed in excess of 16 million US dollars by government departments, a factor that has contributed to the deterioration of service delivery in the city.local