The Sunday News
Sharon Chimenya, Sunday News Reporter
THE Masvingo City Council has with immediate effect rebased its 2022 budget tariffs to foreign currency as per the date that the budget was approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works.
The local authority said that the billing of the council services will be done using a translated ZWL$ tariffs using the auction/interbank rate at the time of billing with effect from 1 June 2022.
Speaking during a stakeholder’s consultative meeting on Monday at the Town House the Acting Finance Director Mr Danister Jori said that the local authority is finding it difficult to fund essential requirements such as personal protective clothing, plant and equipment repairs and funding capital projects.
“Total expenditure has been constrained by cash flows and council’s indebtedness to various creditors has significantly increased. Of note is the increase in pay roll creditors by $53 million by the time of the preparation of this report but the amount has risen to $100 million and the failure to settle Value Added Tax and Electricity obligations during the quarter.
“The environment that we are operating in has increasingly become abnormal and requires extra-ordinary measures to survive. I propose that the 2022 budget be rebased in foreign currency as at the date of approval so the billing will be done at the prevailing auction rate on the billing date. This will enable council’s revenue to track the expenditure trajectory which is anchored on the exchange rate,” he said.
He further proposed that all sundry fees except for grave fees and clinic fees be paid in hard currency to mobilise funding for essential requirements such as fuel, water treatment chemicals and plant and equipment spare
Mr Jori said that the water treatment chemical prices have gone up, with the prices of the aluminium sulphate by469 percent from $82 in January to $466.67 in May, while Hydrated Lime rose by 326 percent from $47 in January for 16 500 kilogrammes to $200.31 in May.
“A monthly supply of 1 600 kilogrammes of chlorine gas rose by 261 percent from $344 in Jan to $1 240.41 in May. The supply of 4 000 litres of HTH rose by 45 percent from $820 in Jan to $1 188 in May,” said the acting Finance Director.
Mr Jori said that the suppliers are demanding upfront payment or payment on delivery as they endeavour to cushion themselves from the ravaging inflation.
Meanwhile, in a statement to its residents Masvingo City has that the measure that has been implemented by council are not an increase in the tariffs.
“Council wishes to advise that the measure is not an increase in tariffs but is meant to preserve the value realised for sustainable service delivery. This has been necessitated by the depreciation of the ZWL$ in an environment where prices are indexed to the foreign currency exchange rate,” reads part of the notice.