By Brenna Matendere
GWERU City Council has engaged the Harare Institute (HIT) of Technology to help recover over $62 million owed by residents and businesses.
The proposal to engage HIT was tabled before an extraordinary council meeting on July 2 and the city fathers gave it a nod.
In the request prepared by Gweru council acting director of finance, Owen Masimba and presented in a closed-door meeting, the local authority said it wanted to
strengthen its revenue inflows.
“In a bid to strengthen inflows so that more resources are mobilised towards service delivery, there is an urgent need to strengthen our debt collection system
and the payment plan, monitoring and follow up systems,” he said.
“Harare Institute of Technology has developed an automated payment plan system that enables debt collection personnel to create, track, automatically send
reminders on scheduled dates as agreed with clients and also prompt the start and end of other ancillary debt collection stages. Several local authorities have
reported an increase in collection levels after using the programme.”
Mayor Josiah Makombe confirmed the development and indicated that the engagement of HIT experts would bear fruit for service delivery.
“The installation of the software at town house will be done very soon. Management is still completing some paper work that is required. It is a good move for
our city because if we get more revenue, we will see improved developments on service delivery because, at the moment, things are expensive,” he said.
The programme is for free and council will only meet travel and subsistence allowances for the two engineers from HIT for the two days that they will offer installation and training of officials at the Town House.
Put together, the costs amount to $1 900 for two people for the two days.
Makombe said the city fathers felt the cost was affordable.
“We will spend less money, but what will recover will be millions of dollars. We felt it’s a good deal,” he said.
HIT and other universities in the country are engaged by various municipalities for partnerships such as these. It is government policy for collaborative activities to be done between universities and councils.