THE Bulawayo chapter of local business pressure group Affirmative Action Group (AAG) says it has engaged the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) power utility Zesa and Bulawayo City Council to consider applying a moratorium for ailing firms with huge utility bills in a bid to allow them to get back on their feet.
Report by Gamma Mudarikiri
A moratorium is an authorisation to a debtor permitting temporary suspension of payments. AAG Bulawayo principal officer Silani Matshiya told NewsDay over the weekend that they had also appealed to the service providers to stop taking their debtors to court, but agree to a flexible payment plan.
“Most companies in Bulawayo are closing because of the huge debts owed mainly to NSSA, Zesa and the city council and the legal costs associated with the legal process when these organisations drag companies to court to recover the money owed to them,” said Matshiya.
“We had fruitful discussions with NSSA although at the moment we don’t have anything yet signed on paper. NSSA says it is open to negotiating a payment plan for companies to settle arrears.”
Contacted for comment, NSSA spokesperson Philemon Chereni confirmed the development, adding the two parties had not reached an official agreement over the matter. Matshiya said AAG was still negotiating with Zesa and the city council to also consider a similar arrangement.
Last year, 85 companies closed shop in the city while at least 19 others were placed under judicial management.