Tuesday, 1 August 2017

MAYOR : WE REGRET CANCELLING DEBT COLLECTORS CONTRACT

Harare City Council is regretting its decision to terminate a contract with its debt collectors, who contributed more than $23 million into the city’s coffers, with the mayor Councillor Bernard Manyenyeni bemoaning declining revenue.

Clr Manyenyeni said the city’s revenue was continuing to decline and council was collecting between $12 million and $13 million against a budget of $24 million
“We are owed over $658 million by ratepayers and consumers,” he said.

“Until a superior revenue model is secured, the city will continue to lower its offering of municipal services. We urge all those who supported the disengagement of debt collectors to be loudest in revenue collection calls.”

The city’s revenue has been declining since it parted ways with Wellcash Debt Collectors, whose operations were frustrated by pressure groups.

The city says Wellcash Debt Collectors brought in more than $3,3 million directly, while a further $20 million due to council was paid to council by residents who were served with letters of demand.

According to a performance report on debt collection for the period November 23, 2016 to June 14, 2017, Wellcash Debt Collectors visited almost every debtor in the city.

“It must be on record that defaulters were extremely under pressure from the debt collector such that pressure groups, Combined Harare Residents Trust and Harare Residents Trust, started discouraging ratepayers to pay,” the report reads.

Government recently urged local authorities to use whatever means at their disposal, including debt collectors, to recover money owed by ratepayers following revelations that most councils are collecting less than 50 percent of what they bill residents.

Local Government, Public Works and National Housing secretary Engineer George Mlilo said residents needed to understand that councils use money to buy fuel for refuse collection, road maintenance and construction and the provision of clean potable water, among other services. Herald

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