BULAWAYO City Council (BCC)’s debt has ballooned to over $105 million in six months and the local authority is struggling to service it, latest council minutes have shown.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The debt is about 67% of council’s $158 million 2015 budget.
BCC lost $47 million in 2013 after the government directed all municipalities to cancel domestic water bills and property taxes incurred by households between February 2009 and June 2013, citing a difficult economic environment.
Since the directive, according to the latest council minutes, municipal debt has increased to $106 million while revenue collected compared to the same period last year slightly improved by almost 7% to around $5,9 million from $5,5 million.
According to the latest council minutes, as at June 31 council owed statutory bodies such as National Social Security Authority, Municipal Provident Fund and the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund about $41 million, TelOne and Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority about $53,6 million.
The council owes workers $4,3 million in outstanding salaries while unpaid taxes stand at $1 million. Financial institutions and trade creditors are owed $1 million and $2,1 million respectively.
The council is owed $3,6 million by the government. Residents owe council $108 million while land sale amounts to over $1,9 million.
Accrued income to the month of June 2015 amounted to $52 million versus the partial budget of $54 million for the same period, giving a negative variance of $2 million, council minutes indicate.
In 2014, BCC adopted a $158 million 2015 budget which raised tariffs by 4%.