GOVERNMENT owes over US$50 million to the country’s major municipalities, Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Gweru, and Masvingo as arrears for service delivered — resulting in the local authorities’ day-to-day operations being crippled.
Masvingo is owed the largest chunk with the mayor Hubert Fidze revealing that government debt stands at US$28 million. Most of the debt was accumulated at the Zimbabwe National Army’s 4.1 and 4.2 barracks and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. The army owes about US$9 million, while ZRP owes close to US$3 million. “When we try to engage government they say they don’t have the money and say they can only get it from Treasury. However, they need the services. At least if they give us US$5 million it’s enough to deliver most of our obligations and services as the city fathers,” Fidze said.
Harare City Council’s finance and development committee chairperson Councilor Tranos Moyo said they were owed US$13 million by various government departments.
“Government is not paying and they say they are facing financial challenges. Prepaid water meters should actually be installed first at government departments, that’s the only way we can get money from them,” Moyo said. Government debt for the City of Bulawayo at the end of August stood at US$3,5 million.
Mutare Mayor Tatenda Nhamarare said outstanding debts by government are currently close to US$1 million.
“Three months ago it was slightly above one million dollars, and government paid some of it,” said Nhamarare.
Gweru was owed US$6,7 million as of December last year.