Council scraps interest on debts

Council scraps interest on debts
Published: 09 January 2018
THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has scrapped interest on ratepayers who make a payment plan to clear their arrears amid reports the local authority is owed more than $169 million by ratepayers.

Latest council minutes indicate that residents owe council about $95 million while industrial and commercial entities owe $65 million, parastatals and Government ministries owe about $8.8 million.

The city council has since introduced a payment plan for residents and businesses that are struggling to clear their arrears and those that do not renege on their payment plan will not be charged interest.

"Council enters into arrangements with interested consumers where council will park the overdue debt and encourage payment of all current charges and instalments towards the parked debt religiously over an agreed period," Town Clerk, Mr Christopher Dube, said in a statement.

He said accounts on a payment plan will become interest free and will not be subject to debt recovery measures.

The development comes at a time when the local authority has embarked on a water disconnection blitz to recover over $90 million owed by residents.

The local authority said this measure is meant to encourage creditors to settle their bills in light of the economic challenges the country is facing.

Council said it was billing the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) about $860 as royalty charges per month and the royalty bill was about $119 000 as of November 30.

Association for Business in Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Mr Victor Nyoni has challenged the Bulawayo City Council to complement Government efforts by scrapping interest on clients with arrears and   suspending court cases against owing businesses.

He said this will give businesses breathing space for them to retire their debts as they risk losing their properties.

"Some businesses in the city risk losing their properties due to debts owed to the city council. A number of businesses have pending court cases after having been sued by BCC," said Mr Nyoni.
- chronicle
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