Consult residents on tariffs – BCC told

Bulawayo residents have called on the local authority to first consult them before implementing the payment of rates in USD using official bank rate.

The outcry follows an  announcement by  Bulawayo City Council that services will now be charged in USD and payable in official bank rate effective this month.

As of this week the Zimbabwe dollar is currently trading at ZWL$325 to the USD in the official market while in the parallel market exchange rate is around ZWL$450 to  $550.

Similosenkosi Gwebu from Mzilikazi (72) said the announcement was a huge blow to her peers who could not no longer afford BCC services.

“Some of us are all by ourselves and taking care of grandchildren with no source of income. We were already struggling to keep up with monthly payment of bills and this announcement means soon we will have water disconnected because we will not afford. Our children who are employed earn in Bond so I don’t know where council thinks we will get the kind of money as residents, it’s disheartening, ” said Gwebu.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Town Clerk Christopher Dube said the local currency which continues to lose value is crippling service delivery in Bulawayo.

“The City of Bulawayo wishes to advise its valued stakeholders, residents and customers that due to prevailing economic conditions such as changes in the exchange rates, there have been substantial increases in the prices of key service delivery inputs namely fuel, water and waste water treatment chemicals, medicines, stationery and spare parts among others,” said  Dube.

Dube said all council charges had been translated to the USD value on the date of approval of the 2022 budget.

“The tariffs shall be translated at the ruling rate on the date of billing with effect from 1 June 2022. Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to contact Council Revenue offices for the updated charges on their properties,” said  Dube.

In response, Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association said council was arm twisting residents to pay in US dollars.

“This is a wrong move because when we approved those rates, the issue of the bank rate was not considered. Council must go back to the drawing board and consult the residents. It cannot unilaterally index tariffs based on the US dollars without input from residents” read the statement.

 

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