Prepaid meters to become compulsory

PRE-PAID meter systems for water and electricity will be made compulsory for industry, commerce and low-density residential areas starting next year, Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa has said.

by VENERANDA LANGA

Chinamasa told Parliament during presentation of his 2016 National Budget last Thursday that prepaid meter systems were the way to go to avoid incidences of debt accumulation by local authorities.

“As government works with local authorities to realign their cost structures and improve on service delivery, it will also be necessary that we strengthen the culture of compliance with statutory dues, critical for municipalities to fulfil their mandates,” he said.

“In this regard, government notes the initiatives to introduce prepaid revenue collection arrangements in electricity are already contributing positively towards cash flows to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC)”.

Chinamasa said the positive cash inflows to ZETDC, through prepaid metering, were an opportunity for local authorities to collaborate with them regarding to sharing of information communication technology and collection platforms they used in revenue collection.

“This prepaid system will align service delivery to revenue collections, that way avoiding incidences of debt accumulation. I am proposing the initial phase embrace compulsory prepaid meters for industry, commerce and low-density residential areas,” Chinamasa said.

Patrick-Chinamasa3

Local authorities were also encouraged to develop bankable projects and programmes for financial support through issuance of municipal bonds.

The chief treasurer also expressed concern over local authorities’ failure to offer quality service, saying this was caused by inappropriate cost structures and slowdown in revenue collections.

“Government, through the Minister of Local Government, is challenging local authorities to realign their cost structures in line with revenue streams. The human resources cost structure of local councils has, in a majority of cases, been the biggest impediment to service provision,” he said.

“Hence, government requires local authorities to comply with the 30/70% remuneration guidelines in managing human resources costs in councils, along the same lines as State-controlled entities. This should be a priority for councils in 2016 to align the salaries and wages of their workforces to the economic realities of the current times.”

Chinamasa said meaningful recovery of service delivery was dependent upon improved and sustained financial management efficiency.

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8 Comments

  1. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    In those low density areas the majority of residents have boreholes and wells. They get hardly get a regular supply of municipal water. At the end of the day the loser will be the local authority. Also, the same minister who are clamouring for smart meters are the very same peoplf who dont even pay for water bills.

  2. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    In those low density areas the majority of residents have boreholes and wells. They get hardly get a regular supply of municipal water. At the end of the day the loser will be the local authority. Also, the same ministers who are clamouring for smart meters are the very same peoplf who dont even pay for water bills.

  3. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    The low density areas do not get a regular supply of water. Most of low density residents have boreholes and wells. The same govt ministers who are clamouring for the installation of smart meters are the very same people who dont even pay for the water bills. The biggest loser will be the local authority since majority of low density residents sometimes go for long periods without water. The question is, whats the purpose of smart meters in areas that do not even get a drop of water?

  4. What a relief that we will have now to buy pre paid water meters. One question though ??????
    Where is the water????? I had water where I live in Mount Pleasant five or six times in the past 5 years. So how are we going to get water now of a sudden because we are introducing Water meters now

  5. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    It wont work. Look at ZESA the organisation is now regreting becoz the revenue it is collecting is a drop in the ocean vis-a-vis the old system of meter reading. Also, Bulawayo council decided early this year to halt the installation of smart meters after realised that the revenue being collected is little. Those residents in low density areas that goes for ages without regular supply of municipal water have boreholes and wells and even if the smart meters are to be installed, council will collect no revenue. Ironically, the very same ministers who are clamouring for installation of smart meters have ballooning h2o bills.

  6. As a country we are wasting money on pre-payment meters simply because as citizens we donot want to pay our bills and taxes.This drives up our cost structure as a country.Compare ourselves to one developed countries where any tax dodger goes to prison regardless of position.Their cost of doing business is low because they donot need pre-payment meters.in fact, their electricity meters are read once a year, and consumers pay average monthly bills and make a correction payment once a year.

  7. WILLARD MUBVUMBI

    It wont work. In low density areas, residents have boreholes and wells and i dont see any use of the smart meters. ZESA, is now regreting becoz the revenue being collected after the introduction of electricity meters is so little.

  8. My view is for now yes you will resolve the debts issue etc “goal archived” but mark my words in the longrun demand will be low for instance i thnk Zesa has tought us that there are many alternatives out there same as water, we will js drill more boreholes demand falls

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