BULAWAYO City Council, which is struggling to stay afloat due to the biting economic downturn, is now demanding payment of rates in foreign currency from foreigners and international organisations.
BY SILAS NKALA
Town clerk Christopher Dube, in a statement on Monday, said the city had opened a foreign currency account (FCA) for receipt of payments from Zimbabweans in the Diaspora and locals.
“All international organisations that are operating within the city, who pay for council services through their landlords or directly, are now expected to make payments in foreign currency with immediate effect,” he said.
Dube said ratepayers, who settle their arrears in forex, will get a discount of up to 50%.
“The City of Bulawayo has not been exempted from the recent macro-economic downturn, which has affected the entire nation. The city’s financial position has been hard hit and council is barely managing to stay afloat and provide basic and decent services. The situation is dire and untenable, and this necessitated the City of Bulawayo to implement austerity measures to ensure continued service delivery,” Dube said.
“Council, at its meeting of November 7, 2018, approved policy options and strategies to address the socio-economic environment as follows: Diaspora payment of rates – Khumbula Ekhaya Rates. Council has opened an appropriate foreign currency account [Domestic FCA] to cater for foreign currency payments.”
Dube said ratepayers would get 50% discount for full settlement of arrears.
“The modalities of this facility are such that off-shore ratepayers can pay directly to council’s foreign currency account via their accounts. Pay directly in cash through the express window for foreign currency at the Revenue Hall, which has been made available for such payments. All payments made in foreign currency will get discounts as follows: Full settlement attracts a 50% discount on total amount owing,” he said.
“Part payments will get discounts on a pro rata (proportional) basis. This facility will run for an initial period of six months from December 17, 2018.
“The measures have been taken to strengthen the multi-currency system for financial and price stability, and to increase inflows of foreign currency for sustained service delivery. Council would like to commend its rate payers for their continual support despite the hostile economic environment. Council will closely monitor the prevailing economic situation,” Dube said.
As part of its policy options, BBC will also be renegotiating outstanding contracts and introduce a special express pre-selling of stands in forex.