Harare proposes removal of fixed water charges for domestic consumers

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Harare town House

HARARE City Council has proposed a $269,3 million budget for 2018 which has a variety of incentives for ratepayers, up from the current $262 million budget for this year.

by OBEY MANAYITI

The budget, presented on Wednesday, proposes a write-off on all domestic consumer accounts interest charges upon fulfilment of the terms and conditions of an agreed payment plan.

The local authority, owed millions of dollars by residents, is proposing to remove fixed water charges for domestic consumers.

“It is recommended as follows: That the fixed water charges be removed for all domestic consumers, that fixed water charges be reduced from the current $50 to $25 for industrial and commercial use,” finance committee chairperson Tranos Moyo said.

“That property tax for commerce and industry be reviewed downwards by 15%, that all business licensing fees be reduced by 15%, that all market fees be reduced by 15%. That rentals for Glen View factory shells and Mukuvisi business units be reduced from $79 to $55 per month inclusive of tax. That rank/route authority fees be reduced by $25%.”

The budget also provides that the finance director can use his discretion in the award of discounts.

In a bid to promote the industry, the budget also provides that council buy locally manufactured water treatment chemicals and other goods.

The city is expected to get $93 million from property tax, $26,8 million from refuse collection, $4 million from finance revenue collection, $12,7 million from Zinara and $3,4 million from billboards, clamping and towing.

The budget also revealed that the city got $5,4 million since April under the Emergency Roads Rehabilitation Programme. Council is also looking at amplifying its fight against illegal ranks in the central business district.

Currently government and the Harare City are seized with an operation to remove vendors and illegal pirate taxis and commuter omnibuses.

“I must admit, Your Worship, that the achievement of this goal had notoriously eluded us all but I can report that the goal has now been subjected to the collective and all-inclusive wit of government, council and other stakeholders,” Moyo said.

In the budget, the capital budget has been set at $50,2 million, much less than in the previous years of $105 million, $122 million, $66 million of 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Road maintenance was allocated $12 million, refuse removal $3,5 million, finance $1,4 million, and the informal sector $3 million.