Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
GOVERNMENT has approved a 50 percent debt cancellation strategy proposed by local authorities to encourage residents and businesses to clear their debts, a Cabinet Minister has revealed.
Residents and businesses across the country owe local authorities millions of dollars and councils hope the 50 percent discount will encourage defaulters to clear their arrears.
In an interview yesterday, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Cde July Moyo said local authorities’ proposed the debt cancellation strategy which Government has approved.
He said councils were of the view that this incentive will encourage defaulters to clear their arrears which have accumulated over the years.
Minister Moyo said the debt cancellation strategy was in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP)’s strategies to improve settlements of ratepayers’ debts.
He said failure to pay rates and other service charges impacted negatively on service delivery, hence the measures being taken to encourage ratepayers to pay their bills.
Minister Moyo said for residents to enjoy quality service, they should pay their bills on time.
“We want to commend councils for coming up with an incentive to encourage defaulters to clear their arreas so that the councils are able to provide services,” said Cde Moyo.
He said instead of insisting on being paid what they are owed, councils decided to sacrifice half the amount.
Government in its Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) running from October this year to December 2020 recognises the need for debt clearance.
“Strategies to improve settlements of rate- payers’ debts include discount offers of up to 50 percent payable within stipulated time frames, e.g. 90 days,” reads the document.
In July, Bulawayo councillors proposed the slashing of water bills by 50 percent as a way of encouraging residents to clear their arrears.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) is also offering a 50 percent debt discount for those who will pay their bills this month.
“Pay up your water bills between December 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018, and enjoy massive discounts of up to 50 percent for every dollar paid. This offer is open to all Zinwa clients including irrigating farmers, domestic clients, churches, government departments, mines, local authorities, schools and others water consumers,” reads Zinwa’s statement. — @nqotshili