Gweru revenue collection declines

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Gweru City Council revenue inflows declined by 50 % in a space of four months this year, raising fears the local authority will find it harder to meet salary obligations.

By Stephen Chadenga

In April, when the municipality went for several months without paying workers, management and employees set up a Revenue Enhancement Team to improve cash collection.

Workers committee spokesperson, Cornelia Selipiwe yesterday revealed that the revenue collected daily by the taskforce had dropped by half between April and July.

“When we started in April we were collecting $80 000 per day, which amounted to $2 million per month, but now the figure has dropped to $40 000 a day,” Selipiwe said.

“We blame some councillors and politicians in the city who are against the workers committee and go around influencing residents not to pay their bills in order to discredit us.”

A council report shows that the revenue team collected about $1,4 million between May 7 and June 9.

But the local authority requires about $1,1 million to meet its wage bill for the 1 300 strong workforce.

Selipiwe said the revenue team will continue with its work until city fathers put mechanisms in place to ensure workers were paid their salaries.

Gweru councillors accuse the workers committee of running affairs at Town House while employees’ representatives accuse city fathers of dipping their fingers in the financially troubled coffers of the municipality.

Both mayor Hamutendi Kombayi and town clerk, Daniel Matawu could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Gweru has been struggling to operate viably following a government directive in 2013 that forced all local authorities to cancel outstanding bills accrued since dollarisation.

The populist directive by former Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo left a number of councils unable to pay salaries on time and constrained from providing reliable services.