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BCC battles salary backlog

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THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has now accumulated a three-month salary backlog, as its revenue base continues to shrink due to the harsh economic environment, a situation that has deeply affected service delivery.

BY MTHANDAZO NYONI

Town clerk, Christopher Dube, in his end-of-year report for 2016, said the local authority was pursuing other ways to source revenue to clear the salary arrears.

“Council had a three months’ remuneration backlog for its employees and salary creditors’ balances continued to increase due to diminished revenue inflows,” he said.

“This had an adverse effect on staff morale. However, council is highly-appreciative of the resilience shown by all the employees despite the hardships. To this end, measures were made to explore new revenue sources to help council clear the backlog and pay employees and creditors timeously.”

As of November 2016, council owed workers $8,9 million.

Dube said regular engagement with the employees’ union had enabled the local authority to keep its workers updated on the financial challenges the local authority was experiencing.

“Council attaches great importance to its workforce and will do all it can to address issues of concern, motivate employees and improve productivity,” he said.

BCC’s financial woes began in 2013 after then Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo, ordered all local authorities to write-off ratepayers’ outstanding bills for the period February 2009 to June 2013 — in a move widely dismissed a Zanu PF “populist” vote-buying gimmick.

The council reportedly lost at least $47 million in potential revenue as a result of the directive.

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