Harare City Council and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) have been involved in a verbal spat over the allocation of scarce foreign currency.
The City requires US$3 million every month for the importation of critical raw materials.
On Tuesday, the RBZ released US$150 000 for Harare City Council, an allocation which the local authority says is inadequate. Harare town clerk Hosiah Chisango had this to say:
Our monthly requirement is up to US$3 million, depending on our production levels. That’s our monthly requirement.
We have been getting that until about two to three months ago; so for the past three months, we did not receive the allocation.
And the allocation is such that the council should pay for that forex component, by providing the equivalence in RTGS$ so it is not like the RBZ is giving us but they are providing for forex on our RTGS account.
Chisango said that there is no money on the interbank market. The facility was introduced in February.
However, RBZ governor John Mangudya has denied Chisango’s claims. Said Mangudya:
What Chisango is saying is not true at all. l am in touch with the mayor and the town clerk Hosiah Chisango. He even phoned me yesterday himself.
I spoke with them and what they wanted, for now, was US$150 000 for chlorine which they were given on Tuesday at their request. They also said they have some chemicals still available.
Harare City Council requires a cocktail of chemicals to purify the highly polluted water from the “giant sewer”, Lake Chivero.
The chemicals needed include activated carbon for removing odours, aluminium sulphate, sodium lime for pH regulation, sulphuric acid, calcium hypochlorite for removing algae and ammonia for chlorine retention and chlorine gas which is needed to kill bacteria.