Byo council owed $19b

Loughty Dube

GOVERNMENT departments and city residents now owe the cash-strapped Bulawayo city council over $19 billion in unpaid rates and supplementary charges.

, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>Documents obtained this week show that government and local residents owe a combined total of $19,5 billion as at the end of April.

The new figures, submitted by city treasurer Middleton Nyoni, indicate that the amount owed to council has increased by $6 billion from that owed in March.

Government departments owe council a total of $5 billion while residents and other service debtors owe council $14,5 billion.

The Ministry of Home Affairs is the biggest debtor, owing council over $555 million, closely followed by the Ministry of Health which owes $454 million and the Ministry of Education and Culture that owes a further $317 million.

The government debt excludes the contentious health grant that the fiscus is supposed to pay council on a monthly basis.

Rates and supplementary charges top the list of what residents owe council with more than $6 billion outstanding followed by water usage at $5 billion while a further $1 billion is for sewerage charges.

Other debts are spread across land sales, refuse removal, rent, loan repayments, legal charges and developments permits.

Bulawayo councillors in a report compiled after the presentation of the council’s financial position and the debt situation expressed concern at the deteriorating debt situation and called for stern measures to arrest the situation.