BY SHARON BUWERIMWE MAJOR local authorities have united in rejecting fire tenders imposed on them by Local Government minister July Moyo.
Minister Moyo drew the ire of local authorities in June this year after ordering them to pay for fire tenders acquired from Belarus at a staggering US$464,296 each.
In a letter dated June 20, Moyo directed metropolitans which include Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru and Kwekwe to buy three fire tenders each at a combined cost of US$2,8 million.
However, NewsDay has gathered that cities have unanimously agreed to turn down the directive.
Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said the city council would not be pressured into purchasing the fire tenders.
“We are saying there are better fire tenders out there. We cannot pay that. Then the government cannot have a one size fits all approach. This thing was not well-thought out. You cannot direct a rural district council like Mwenezi to pay for one of the fire tenders, because the price is just unrealistic and exorbitant,” Mafume said.
A council meeting held in Masvingo this week also turned down the directive to purchase of the fire tenders.
“Consideration was given to the report of the acting finance director on the letter from the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Public works advising that government will procure fire tenders on behalf of local authorities utilising the 2022 Devolution fund allocations. The City of Masvingo would get two fire tenders at a cost of US$464 96 each.
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“The 2022 devolution allocation was $253 million and council was being advised to reprioritise the devolution funds to accommodate the cost of the fire tenders. The committee has raised concern that the fire tenders are not a priority to the City of Masvingo. The City of Masvingo is in need of refuse trucks, tipper trucks, a grader and ambulances,” read part of the Masvingo council minutes.
“The committee counter proposed that the government should consider procuring two refuse trucks, a tipper truck, a grader and an ambulance for the City of Masvingo using the devolution funds in place of the fire tenders.”
Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare and Kwekwe have also had similar council meetings where they turned down the fire tender deal.
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