BY FARAI MATIASHE
THE Harare City Council (HCC) is lobbying government to allow it to collect rates in foreign currency from business and corporates that have licences to trade in foreign currency as part of initiatives to strengthen service delivery.
The facility has been granted to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, where businesses that are trading in multi-currencies remit their taxes in the same currency, in which the goods have been sold.
Speaking on the state of the city yesterday, Harare mayor Herbert Gomba said the move would enable them to procure plant and equipment that require foreign currency.
“The City of Harare appreciates the economic challenges our residents are facing, hence we have tried to ensure that our rates and tariffs remain sub-economic,” he said.
“We have, however, explored other revenue generation streams, which we hope to implement next year. Council is also engaging government in a bid to secure authority to charge certain ratepayers, services and products in forex. The city is targeting such businesses to pay for services in foreign currency, as well as those in the diaspora who might want to purchase residential stands, among others,” he said.
“This will allow council to invest in service delivery initiatives such as procurement of plant and equipment. The above is not peculiar to Harare alone, because some fast-food outlets designated tourism facilities are allowed to charge in forex.”
Gomba said they were proposing a 20% infrastructure development tax on property developers when they connect their projects to existing infrastructure, which will give the city money dedicated on infrastructure development.
The mayor called on parliamentarians and councils to work hand-in-hand to push the government to review the current tax laws.
To recover the estimated $800 million owed by ratepayers, Gomba said council was lobbying Parliament to make legislative reforms so as to give them garnishing powers, where they would start using force to get money from individuals and corporates.
He said plans were underway to procure mobile modular water treatment plants to cater for the disadvantaged areas such as Sentosa, which have had perennial water challenges.