NKAYI Rural District Council is owed about $60,000 by Joubert Hardwood Ventures, a local timber processing company.
The council’s chairperson, Sicelo Mpofu told Business Chronicle the company’s debt was crippling council operations.
He said the local authority entered into an agreement with Joubert Hardwood Ventures on a payment plan for timber, which the firm has breached.
“Since last year, Joubert Hardwood Ventures owe us about $60,000 for our timber which they’re cutting down and processing in Harare.
“As a result of that debt, our operations as a local authority are being crippled,” said Mpofu.
He said Nkayi Rural District Council was in discussions with the timber processing firm to see how best the debt could be cleared.
“We’ve engaged the timber firm to see how best the debt can be settled. As things stand the company has pointed out that business is low on their side resulting in them not being able to pay us consistently,” he said.
Comment could not be obtained from the company’s officials.
Mpofu said the local authority was considering changing part of the agreement so that companies or investors tapping into their timber would not be allowed to operate if they were not paying the local authority.
He said the rural district council was also mulling plans to venture into the timber processing business.
“We’re looking at plans to venture into timber processing, but we’re presently limited by lack of expertise,” he said.