The Municipality of Marondera has sought government approval to levy rates in United States Dollars a move which, if approved, would allow them to provide 100% service delivery, according to the Town’s Mayor.
The local authority is struggling to provide clean water and regularly collect refuse as it is finding it difficult to access forex for the purchasing of water chemicals and fuel, which require foreign currency.
“As council, we are in a very tight situation. We want to provide our residents and other ratepayers with a service that leaves them 100 percent satisfied but of late, we have been unable to do that. Some may want to deny it but it is no longer a secret that most services in our town are being transacted in United States Dollars.
“However, as council, we are charging in local currency yet we are being charged in United States dollars for some of the services that we procure from suppliers. We are encountering challenges in delivering services due to fuel shortages arising from the fact that fuel is now largely unavailable in local currency.
“Just like other councils in the council, we have since written to our parent Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, informing it and seeking the Ministry’s authority to effect the charges for services,” Murowa said.
However, residents who spoke to this publication were not amused by the proposal.
Marondera Progressive Residents Association (MAPRA) chairperson Goldman Munjoma said council had to focus on service delivery first before thinking of charging rates in foreign currency.
He said: “When people part with their hard-earned money, they expect to get a good service but our council has been failing terribly on that aspect. What guarantee do we have that they will improve when they start levying us in USD. Besides that, most people here do their businesses in local currency and that is the case with salaries being given to workers. Charging rates in forex will be burdening the already burdened citizenry.
“The economy has not dollarized yet and council should simply be focusing on ways for 100 percent revenue collection and of course, service delivery.”
Ronika Zungunde said the move was wrong, especially at this time of the Covid-19 national lockdown.
“I think it will be in the best interest of us as residents if the municipality continues to charge us in local currency. Most residents in this town rely on selling, but since the start of lockdown everyone is at home. Where then will we be expected to get the USD when we cannot put a decent meal on the table?” Zungunde said.