Harare Municipality has engaged senior government officials to assist in recovering government debts that have ballooned to $140 million.
NewsDay has it on good authority that the city fathers were seriously mulling engaging even Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to come to their rescue because they were not getting any joy from debtors.
The government, through its various institutions, owes the city council millions of dollars in unpaid rates and service fees.
The parent ministry, Local Government, owes the capital $12 million in unpaid water and service bills, a scenario that has seriously affected operations at Town House.
The city’s finance and development committee confirmed council was fast losing hope of recovering the debt and was seeking assistance from senior government officials as a last resort.
“The town clerk advised that there was progress in the engagement of senior government officials on efforts to recover outstanding debts in the government department,” read recent council minutes.
Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said the city was in desperate need for money to finance projects lying idle due to financial constraints.
“We really need money to finance a lot of projects in the city so we have engaged senior government officials including Finance minister Tendai Biti to get assistance,” Gwindi said.
Although Gwindi could not be drawn into naming some of the senior government officials, NewsDay has it on good authority that the city fathers were in the process of engaging Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office to facilitate the payment of debts by government ministries and other government departments.
“We need to put our heads together and activate plans that are gathering dust and raise the money needed to get all these things off the ground,” Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said recently.
Harare has many stagnant projects including street lighting, renovating council halls, buying equipment to use in council clinics and a sewage system that is near collapse.