Govt Debt Cripples Bulawayo City

A report by the BCC Finance and Development Committee shows that various government departments owe the cash strapped council US$3, 953, 337, 89 in rates and services charges.

Bulawayo Deputy Mayor, Amen Mpofu said the refusal of government departments to settle their debts is impacting negatively on council’s ability to effectively carry out operations on service delivery.

“Service delivery depends on the rate of payment by the government departments and the debt is ballooning on a daily basis.

“People are quick to blame council for uncollected garbage, potholes in the road, burst sewers and leaking pipes, but they do not seem to realise that as long as government and other departments owe such huge amounts, it is impossible for us to provide acceptable standards of service,” Mpofu said in an interview.

The BCC Finance and Development Committee report shows that Water Resources Ministry tops the list of government departments indebted to the council as it owes it US$2, 388, 138, 59 followed by the Home Affairs Ministry which owes US$625, 770, 99.

The Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture owes BCC US$ 534, 515, the Ministry of Defence US$ 150, 481, 63, the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing US$116, 219, 79 the Ministry of Health US$120, 330, 38 the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare US$34, 468, 83, the Ministry of Transport US$7, 544, 56 and CMED US$6392.

The Agriculture Ministry owes council US$1504, 02, the Finance Ministry US$1, 140, 35 and Justice Ministry US$7,73398 and the failure of the government departments to pay has seen interest shoot up to US$ 536 944, 31.

Local authorities do not get government funding during Budget presentations and they survive on rates and services charges.