Bulawayo City Council (BCC)’s debt has ballooned to over $90 million, about 57 percent of its $158 million 2015 budget, and is struggling to service it after revenue dropped by 65 percent since July last year, latest council minutes have shown.
BCC lost $47 million last year after government directed all municipalities to cancel domestic water bills and property taxes incurred by households between February 2009 and June 2013, citing a difficult economic environment that made it difficult for households to pay.
Since the directive, Mayor Martin Moyo said municipal debt had increased by $90 million while revenue collected declined by almost 65 percent, from about $6.9 million to around $2.4 million a month as the economy continues to struggle.
According to the latest council minutes, as at October 31, council owes statutory bodies such as National Social Security Authority, Municipal Provident Fund and the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund about $37.8 million, Tel One and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority about $45 million.
The council also owes workers $2.8 million in outstanding salaries while unpaid taxes had increased to $1.2 million. Financial institutions are owed $3.6 million.
In addition to the $90 million municipal debt, the council is also owed $2.8 million by government.
Last month, BCC adopted a $158 million 2015 budget which raised tariffs by four percent.- The Source