THE Zimbabwe Local Government Association (ZILGA) has resolved to lobby government to pay debts it owes to local authorities to enable them to jump-start stalled projects, it has been learnt.
Report by Obey Manayiti
ZILGA held a three-day conference in Mutare that was officially opened by President Robert Mugabe last Friday.
In an interview with NewsDay after the conference, ZILGA deputy president Emmanuel Chiroto said during the conference the association briefed Mugabe and Vice-President Joice Mujuru on the need for government to clear its arrears with local authorities.
Government owes local authorities in excess of $100 million in unpaid bills.
“We agreed to do some offsets with the government so that we see how much they are owed by local authorities and how much we owe them,” said Chiroto, who is also Harare deputy mayor.
“Many local authorities are failing to complete their projects because of such debts and yet the same government accuses us of failing to provide quality service delivery.
“In Masvingo alone if they are given at least $2 million from the $8 million they are owed, the face of Masvingo will change. We presented our problems to the President and his vice (Mujuru) who then promised to do something about the matter.”
He urged government ministries dealing with local authorities to be sensitive to their needs. Chiroto said the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration
(Zinara) should consult councils before purchasing capital equipment.
“We had a problem in accessing money from Zinara. We discussed it and agreed that minister (Nicholas) Goche avail funds. Zinara used to buy us capital equipment without consulting the local authorities first,” he added.
“In some instances they would buy sub-standard equipment or items that we don’t need. We agreed that they should consult with us first.”