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Chamisa's MDC orders all councils to slash rates

by Staff reporter
18 Apr 2021 at 08:56hrs | Views
MDC ALLIANCE has ordered all local authorities under its control to reduce rates the main opposition concurs were beyond the reach of many.

MDC controls most urban authorities whose managers have been haggling endlessly with residents on the quantum of rate increases to match the demands of service delivery.

Councils have since tabled their budgets which have been approved by Local Government minister July Moyo.

In a letter, MDC Alliance secretary for Local Government, Sesel Zvidzai said increases averaging between 500 and 700 percent were unaffordable particularly in the aftermath of Covid-19 lockdowns.

"Accordingly, we have instructed local authorities under our control to engage with their respective stakeholders with a view to reduce the rates and service charges to levels that can be afforded to our people and business. Our own expert assessment suggests that reduction of between 20 to 30 percent will not harm the financial position of most of the councils," said Zvidzai.

He said the MDC Alliance's local government portfolio has engaged with stakeholders in several councils under their leadership in the past two months.

"The reductions may cause some gaps in some municipalities, but we demand treasury to fill the gaps.

"Moreover, government is obliged to intervene to even out the negative effects of Covid-19 lockdowns on the capacity of people and business to generate income," said Zvidzai.

The opposition also demanded from Treasury to fill in the budget gaps created, through transferring funds to the local authorities timeously and equitably in line with constitutional provisions that demand that minimum five percent of the national budget be transferred to local authorities in support of service delivery demands.

Zvidzai also called for the full implementation of the devolution provisions of the Constitution to ensure local authorities had autonomy to run their own affairs.

While the local government ministry controlled by Zanu-PF has the discretion to approve or reject budgets submitted by councils, the ruling party's propaganda machinery has often taken advantage of the outcry by residents to launch a smear campaign against the MDC led councils.

Source - newzimbabwe