400% rates hike for Bulawayo budget

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GOVERNMENT has approved the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) 2020 budget which has seen the local authority increasing tariffs and other service charges by more than 400 percent with effect from February 1.

In a statement yesterday, the council said Government had approved its $2,8 billion budget.

“The City of Bulawayo would like to advise members of the public and other stakeholders that the 2020 municipal budget has been approved together with increased tariffs and other service charges (approved 31 January 2020). The new approved charges are effective from 1 February 2020,” reads the statement.

Council encouraged residents to come up with new payment plans before the end of next month. 

“Customers who made payment arrangements with the City of Bulawayo are encouraged to visit the nearest Revenue Office to update their debt payment arrangement to incorporate the new charges and continue enjoying benefits that go with such arrangements. The opportunity to review your payments arrangements is available up to 31 March 2020,” said council.

In an interview, the city’s Finance and Development Committee chairperson councillor Mlandu Ncube said the approved budget will see rates going up by 416 percent.

“Yes, the budget has been approved and tariffs will go up by 416 percent as was proposed by council,” said Clr Ncube.

He said council was encouraging owing residents to take advantage of its payment plan scheme.

Council is owed $183 million by both residents and businesses.

Residents on payment plans are spared when council disconnects water supplies to defaulting ratepayers.

In a media briefing on Tuesday, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube said it was important for ratepayers to pay their bills to enable council to effectively provide services.

Mr Dube said council had resolved to stick to its 2020 budget.

“I don’t see any reason why we should review our budget downwards as proposed by some residents. In fact, if you look at the costs build- ups and the inflation now, costs are going up,” said Mr Dube. – Chronicle