Tuesday, 23 November 2021

CHINESE DEBT CHOKES HARARE COUNCIL

 HARARE City Council (HCC) is swimming in debts running into billions of Zimbabwe dollars and is yet to pay part of the US$72,2 million it owes the China Exim Bank for the refurbishment of Morton Jaffray Waterworks.

A council finance and development committee report tabled in October shows that HCC also owes CABS Bank $2,595 billion and a loan balance of $6,259 million for road maintenance equipment.

Harare also owes FBC Bank $2,603 million for a road maintenance equipment loan, and an overdraft facility of $5,012 million.

“A total of US$144,4 million was owed (to) China Exim Bank for Morton Jaffray Waterworks refurbishment, of which US$72,2 million had been committed and no repayments had taken place,” the report read in part.

The waterworks project is touted as the panacea to the water crisis in the city.

Between January and July 31 this year, debtors were reported at $11,736 billion, with actual collections for the period amounting to $5,213 billion.

Harare has failed to pay the Chinese loan that was shrouded in controversy amid reports of exaggerated prices and underhand dealings.

Instead of channelling the money to the actual project, the HCC was reported to have acquired top-of-the-range vehicles for senior staff, including the town clerk and chamber secretary.

Critics, including legislators, argued that the vehicles had nothing to do with the said project.

The Chinese have frowned upon the alleged abuse of the loan facility. Newsday

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