Government owes municipalities across the country over $400 million for various services rendered, Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said.

Minister Kasukuwere said he had since engaged Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa to resolve the debt.

“We have discussed with him (Chinamasa) the debt that Government owes to the municipal authorities. We are owed over $400 million by central government,” he said.

“This will certainly be an injection that will greatly help our towns as we turn around the fortunes of our local authorities.”

He said although local authorities were facing a myriad of challenges which were stifling service delivery, they should remain resolute to fulfil their core mandate.

“I would like to urge our local authorities, our city fathers to strive to use available resources sparingly and effectively for the betterment of service delivery.

“Shortages of resources has become a key challenge, impacting negatively on local authorities’ performance yet Zimbabwe is rich in natural endowments of a wide spectrum,” Minister Kasukuwere said.

Zimbabwe has 92 local authorities, which have been failing to provide adequate service delivery in recent years mainly due to limited revenue inflows.

In order to provide service, councils rely on various service providers to supply them with chemicals to purify water and spares, for example.

But, with councils struggling to collect what they are owed, service delivery has rapidly gone down.

Non-payment of rates and bills by residents, companies and government departments has also greatly reduced most municipalities’ income, resulting in some failing to pay their employees. — New Ziana.

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