Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau Chief
CASH-STRAPPED Gweru City Council is losing millions of dollars every month in potential revenue, with collections amounting to $1,4 million, or 35 percent of what the local authority must raise.
The commissioner in charge of finance, Arthur Choga, said council had paid $220,000 to a private company to do a water audit so that they have a clear database of properties in the Midlands capital.
Choga said 65 percent in water and rates services was unaccounted for prejudicing the bleeding local authority of more than $2million dollars in potential revenue every month. He said council will soon have a clear database of properties which should be billed properly.
Choga said there were many properties constructed on infills all over Gweru which were not accounted for on the council billing system.“Council has been losing revenue through properties that are not being billed. Such properties are found in the infills which were unproceduraly allocated to residents. Council is not getting anything from such properties which in turn bleeds us,” he said.
Choga said the local authority had no official number of properties adding the development opened loopholes for corruption.
He said land in residential and industrial areas had been inappropriately allocated for development in the last five years with council getting nothing.
“The number of properties in Gweru varies depending on which official you ask. It creates room for manipulation of figures and council loses revenue.”
“At the moment we know that 65percent of treated water in Gweru is unaccounted for. Treated water is money and we can’t have a situation where we don’t know where that money is. We are only receipting 35percent of that water which gives us about $1,4million a month. So we could double the figure if all the water is accounted for,” said Choga.The commissioner said council flighted a tender which attracted three bids for the property audit.“The company with the lowest charge of $220,000 was awarded the tender,” he said.He said it was sad to note that some residents illegally reconnected water after being cut off for failing to pay.