|Masvingo City council offices|
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.