By Bulawayo Correspondent
BULAWAYO mayor, Solomon Mguni, has announced that the city is owed ZW$31, 4 billion by debtors, a development which has crippled service delivery and procurement of critical inputs.
Presenting his end of year report recently, Mguni said debtors include government, industry, commerce and residents who are failing to pay for services.
“The total debt as at 30 November 2022 stood at ZW$31.4 billion. Consumers are encouraged to pay bills on time and make payment arrangements whenever they are unable to pay by due date.
“Cash flow challenges hindered council from paying its trade creditors on time, thereby negatively affecting relations with suppliers.
“Failure to pay suppliers within 30 days has seen an increase of suppliers who are now demanding cash up front. As a result, stock levels of critical input materials are low as some suppliers are refusing to provide these on credit,” said Mguni.
The mayor further said current economic hardships were another major factor negatively affecting BCC’s performance.
“Strategies to reduce the high figure of debtors so as to increase cash inflows are being vigorously pursued in an effort to improve service delivery.”
Meanwhile, the mayor also expressed concern over the increase of fire accidents in the city.
According to Mguni, property worth ZW$494 276 900 was lost to fires last year.
“Of concern is the increase in property fires from last year’s 102 to the current year’s 117. This can be attributed to increased power load-shedding as a reasonably high number of such fires resulted from electrical appliances that were left on and unattended and the use of alternative lighting means such as candles during periods of load-shedding,” he said.
Mguni said two fire related fatalities were recorded during the period under review.
One of the victims was a fire fighter who succumbed to burns he sustained whilst fighting a veld fire.
According to his report, the fire brigade attended to 159 special calls, some of which were not fire related.
Meanwhile, BCC has embarked on a massive fire awareness campaign programme to minimise avoidable accidents.