The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) 4 Brigade has been commended for making a huge payment to offset its enormous water bill owed to City of Masvingo, TellZim News can report.
Town Clerk Adolf Gusha confirmed that towards the end of 2018, the army paid a total of $987 000 as part of efforts to clear the arrears that have been accumulating for years. This is the first time in recent history that the local unit of the army has paid cash to settle its water bills.
Being one of the biggest council debtors, ZNA water bills have never been paid in cash and in full, with desperate council settling for debt swaps negotiated with government through the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra).
“We are delighted by the payment that the army made. The money will go a long way towards the improvement of service delivery in our city and we would like to encourage other government departments and private companies that owe us to make efforts to clear their debts so that we can make our city better. We thank the army for leading the way,” said Gusha.
He would, however, not reveal how much exactly does the army still owe, but it is believed the bill runs close to $15 million.
In his 2019 budget proposals, Finance minister Prof Mthuli Ncube allocated the Defence and War Veterans ministry $546.9 million; the fourth largest allocation behind Primary and Secondary Education, Agriculture and Health.
Masvingo Urban Ward 10 councillor, Sengerai Manyanga also thanked the army for the payment, saying council needed every coin it could find to get the day to day business of the city going.
“We celebrate this remarkable commitment to settle the water bill. It is something that others should emulate. Ward 10 hosts the army barracks so I am really pleased with this gesture and I hope more will be done,” said Manyanga.
Below is part of a related story published by TellZim News in February 2018:
City of Masvingo is owed in excess of US$65 million by various government departments, schools, businesses and residents; an amount huge enough to drastically reduce the service delivery backlog once paid in full.
According to council records, institutional debtors as on December 31, 2017, owed a total of US$22 805 064. The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) leads the pack at a whopping US$11 838 487 while their Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) counterparts trail at US$4 165 157. The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) owes US$2 433 596.
The mothballed Cold Storage Commission (CSC) has a US$1 333 263 debt to settle with the local authority.
Low density areas that enjoy largely uninterrupted services, have accrued US$36 131 973 while the majority of high density suburbs, that often get mediocre service delivery, owe US$7 301 843.