Walter Mswazie, Masvingo Correspondent
Masvingo City Council is writing off outstanding bills for money owed by companies which have evidence of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).
Finance and General Purposes committee chairman, Councillor Babylon Beta, yesterday confirmed the development.
He said council had, for example, agreed to exempt PG Industries (Pvt) Limited from paying outstanding water bills amounting to $7 178.39 on the basis that it was bringing foreign direct investment to the city.
He said, for a company, to benefit it should produce legally binding proof of foreign direct investment.
“As a committee we have allowed cancellation of the PG Industries bill amounting to $7 178.39. This is done as an incentive to those attracting FDI to Masvingo City, as part of set off arrangement,” said Clr Beta.
“We referred the matter to our audit committee responsible for the writing off of council bills, for action as prescribed by the Urban Councils Act Chapter 29; 15” he said
According to the latest full council meeting report, councillors gave the green light to the arrangement.
“City Treasurer Mrs Thandiwe Dube advised council that PG Industries had gone into a scheme of arrangement to attract a foreign investor to resume its operations,” reads part of the report.
Deputy Mayor Clr Wellington Mahwende said such arrangements only applied to those companies ready to attract foreign direct investment which will directly benefit council and residents.
“As local authorities, we can only write off debts under special circumstances like this one where we stand to benefit at the end of the day. The amount of investment that will accrue will cover the debt 100 fold but we continue to encourage defaulting clients to settle their dues,” said Clr Mahwende.