BCC justifies US dollar tariff

But there were strong objections from various stakeholders to the US dollar-indexed bills.

THE BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) says its decision to index bills in United States dollars was necessary to ensure quality service delivery.

In a speech read on his behalf by deputy chairperson for the finance committee, Dumisani Nkomo, town clerk Christopher Dube on Wednesday said council would maintain the US dollar tariff to supplement the unstable local currency.

“The 2024 budget will maintain the US dollar tariff at last year’s levels and monthly bills will continue to be based on US dollar tariffs but translated to local currency at the time of billing,” he said.

“Payment of bills will continue in all currencies tradable in our country. Council is expected to deliver services in line with residents and stakeholders’ expectations.”

The council proposed a US$264 million budget for 2024 anchored on prioritising service delivery.

But there were strong objections from various stakeholders to the US dollar-indexed bills.

 “Council welcomes such positive feedback. This is in compliance with statutory requirements in the urban councils act section 2(1)(9) subsection (2) and (3) to allow the public to express its views on the proposed tariffs for the year 2024,” Dube said.

BCC is obliged at law to accept payment in all currencies including the local currency.

Dube said council encountered challenges in acquiring goods and services which were priced in foreign currency including payment of workers’ remuneration.

“It is also important to note that the suppliers of goods and services continue to reject the local currency preferring to be paid in foreign currency or charging for goods in local currency at inflated prices to compensate for conversion to local currency at official rates used by council,” he said.

Dube also said council workers were now demanding payment of their salaries in forex as the local currency is depreciating against the United States dollar.

“In addition this poor remuneration of staff, has led to skills flight from council resulting in staff members seeking better paying jobs,” he said.

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