THE government and city residents now owe the cash-strapped Bulawayo city council a whopping $25 billion in unpaid rates and supplementary charges as the local authority steps up measures to cur
b the escalating debt.
Council documents obtained this week from the municipality indicate that both the government and local residents now owe a combined total of $25,5 billion as at the end of July.
Residents owe the council over $18,5 billion. The largest chunk of the amount is in unpaid water charges that constitute about $8,5 billion while supplementary charges and rates are next with $6,3 billion owed.
Government departments owe council a total of $6,8 billion in unpaid bills for water, sewerage and refuse removal.
The new figures, submitted to council by city treasurer Middleton Nyoni, indicate that the Ministry of Home Affairs is the biggest debtor, owing council over $29 million closely followed by the Ministry of Education and Culture which owes $414 million while the Ministry of Higher Education owes a further $408 million.
Other debts are spread across land sales, refusal removal, rent, loan repayments, legal charges and developments permits.
Bulawayo city council has over the last six months failed to source $180 billion on the open money but has recently benefited from an $18 billion Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) facility that would enable the local authority to resuscitate capital projects that have been in limbo for a long time.