BULAWAYO City Council (BCC)’s debt has ballooned to over $117 million as at November last year and the local authority is struggling to service it owing to decline in revenue collection, latest council minutes have shown.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
The debt is about 76% of its $154 million 2016 proposed budget.
However, to the contrary, the City of Kings is being owed $117,8 million by service debtors mainly government, domestic, industrial and commercial entities.
According to the latest council minutes, as at November 30, 2015, the creditors balance stood at $117 million from $113 million in the prior month as council continues to acquire goods and services on credit, while there was a backlog in payments for services received.
Council owes statutory bodies such as National Social Security Authority, Municipal Provident Fund and the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund about $44 million, TelOne and Zesa Holdings about $59 million.
The council also owes workers $7 million in outstanding salaries, while unpaid taxes had increased to $2,2 million. Financial institutions and trade creditors were owed $3 million and $2 million respectively.
In addition to the $117 million municipal debt, the council was also owed $4 million by government.
Government debt, according BCC, increased due to non-payment of the accounts by some State departments.
In October last year, BCC proposed a flat 2016 budget of $154 million with no tariff increases.
BCC lost $47 million in 2013 after 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 that made it challenging for households to pay.