Council employees get festive bliss over salaries

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Bulawayo Mayor Gift Banda

BULAWAYO City Council employees will spend the Christmas holidays a happy lot as the city fathers have assured them of a 13th cheque even though the local authority is facing financial problems.

Richard Muponde
Senior Reporter

There had been fears that the council was not going to pay November and December salaries, with the next pay only due in January.

Council of late has been struggling to pay its workers, with the local authority only paying October salaries last week.

Bulawayo deputy mayor Gift Banda yesterday confirmed they would pay bonuses, dismissing reports that council was unable to pay salaries for the next two months.xmas_tree_

“They are going to get all their salaries for November and December,” he said.

“On top of their salaries they are going to get a bonus as well.

“The person who told you is not being truthful and is trying to gain mileage out of it.”

The local authority has been facing financial woes since 2012 and has been sinking deeper in debt.

Conal is desperately seeking alternative means of boosting revenue.

The situation was exacerbated by a Local Government ministry’s directive to all councils to write off debts incurred between 2009 and last June.

Council is owed more than $80 million in unpaid bills since June last year when the government ordered councils to write off debts to domestic consumers.

In March, the government also ordered the local authority to reduce the 2014 budget by $10 million.

Council had a proposed revenue budget of $113 762 104 for the year, which was slashed to $103 762 104.

Reports say most of the city’s revenue used to come from industries, but following the closure and relocation of many companies in the city, the revenue base drastically went down.