MP Slams ‘Unjustified’ Tariff Increases By Councils  

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By Staff Reporter

SHAMVA South MP, Bramwell Bushu says continued tariff increases by local authorities across the country were unjustified as the inflationary situation in the country has not been as bad even when service delivery charges were in RTGS or local cash.

Bushu was in charge of Midlands during a Miriam Chikukwa-led Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government’s interface with councils in Midlands recently.

The legislator said his committee was looking into the continued impasse between local authorities and rate payers who felt they were being overburdened with ever increasing charges when they were already experiencing economic hardship.

Some local authorities have hiked rates by almost 50 % insisting this was the only way they could ensure smooth service delivery in a difficult economic environment.

However, speaking to in Kwekwe recently, Bushu said local authorities were still capable of delivering service even with minimal tariff increases effected.

“Inflation has not been that bad even when charging in RTGS or Zimbabwean dollar; it (tariff increases) could not have been 50 % adjustment,” Bushu said.

The Zanu PF lawmaker said continued poor service delivery within local authorities made any tariff increases even more inconsiderate.

By increasing the tariffs, he said, local authorities were shooting themselves in the foot as rate payers have become even more uncooperative in terms of meetings their payment obligations.

“Parliamentarians represent the people and they are the same people who said we have to defend them.

“The issue of tariff hikes has been brought up in parliament.

“This is the reason why residents are not paying rates; there have been some resistance.

“Such a situation means that the interests of the municipalities and interests of residents are not dovetailing. This is an issue we are going to raise,” he said.

Bushu said rates were important for the survival of councils but there was need for residents’ input.

The lawmaker said his committee was however cognisant of the challenges faced by local authorities, more-so under the economic crisis brought by Covid-19.

“The Covid-19 situation reduced a lot of movement. However, local authorities had to continue providing service. Under such circumstances, local authorities are struggling,” he said.