Urban councils seek gvt bailout
URBAN councils in the country battling with the effects of the lockdown on their operations and have called for Government intervention to remain afloat in order to give residents basic services they need in the mist of the COVID 19 outbreak.
In an interview, Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) president told, Zim Community News that financial was needed from Government with most authorities failing to provide potable water to residents.
“All local authorities are struggling during the lock down period. Our revenue streams have been affected and we are now collecting less than a third of our usual revenue. The challenges of providing water is the major one and we have no money for chemicals and salaries,” he said.
Makombe, who is also the mayor of Gweru, said UCAZ has approached government for a bailout but so far nothing has materialized.
In a separate interview, Chitungwiza Municipality acting town clerk Dr Tonderai Kasu said the lockdown had worsened their financial status as the council was not collecting revenue.
“From the start of the national lock down, our revenue collection dwindled to almost nothing. This was because our cashiers that receive and receipt money for us were not permitted to be at work since they were not considered as being essential service providers, and there were also restrictions related to movement that prevented our residents from being able to travel to our offices to pay us. This created a funding challenge with respect to keeping essential services operating,” he said.
Kasu added that council managed to obtain a ministerial approval to use funds from the Estate account to cover procurement of emergency supplies such as Personal Protective Equipment for our staff and fuel for service delivery but had since been exhausted.
The local authority has also applied to Government’s help to cover operational costs.
“We have written to the Ministry of Local Government requesting budgetary support to cover staff salaries and costs associated with keeping essential services running for the months of April, May and June 2020. We are still waiting for a response from the Ministry with respect to our request for this budgetary support,” Kasu said.
The City of Harare recently also shared similar sentiments and called for Government bail under the prevailing conditions in the country.