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Gweru debtors’ bill soars to $3bn

GWERU debtors’ bill had risen to over $3 billion as at July 31, 2022, an increase of more than 290% in a space of six months since January, Southern Eye has learnt.

Council’s assistant finance director Michael Verenga yesterday said the arreas were affecting service delivery in the Midlands capital.

“Debtors as at 31 July, 2022 amounted to $3 751 266 883,” Verenga said at a budget performance review meeting.

“Debtors have been growing with each successive billing as they have moved from $1 72 396 729 in January 2022 to the current $3 751 266 883, which is an increase of 294%.”

The municipality, meanwhile, owes service providers over $600 million.

Verenga said council's major creditors were big institutions such as Zesa and TelOne, which provide services on account.

“Creditors as at 31 July 2022 stood at $692 089 868,92 and this is a 103,55% increase from January 2022 which amounted to $340 105 280,96,” he said.

“We are having challenges with ZETDC bills, which are linked to the interbank rate and these bills keep accruing significant interest charges on a monthly basis.”

Recently, council attached properties of ratepayers with outstanding bills in the city, a move that angered residents.

Gweru United Progressive Residents and Ratepayers Development Association Trust executive director David Chikore said some residents were shunning paying bills because they preferred itemised bills.

“We have reiterated that council must provide individual itemised bills to all ratepayers so that each ratepayer can authenticate the validity of the components that constitute his or her debt,” Chikore said.

Over the years, some residents have been refusing to settle bills, arguing that estimated bills were not what they owed council.

 Follow Stephen on Twitter @jagganox78

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