The Government has distanced itself from a recent move by the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) to index bills to residents in foreign currency.
Last week, BCC announced that water and rates bills will this month be indexed in foreign currency, saying the current charges have been rendered inadequate by rising inflation.
In an interview with The Sunday News on Saturday, Local Government and Public Works Minister, July Moyo said he was not aware of the move by the local authority. Said Moyo:
I am not aware of that, I will have to check to find out what is happening, so we can then advise accordingly.
However, Bulawayo Mayor, Councillor Solomon Mguni insisted that the Government had been fully briefed. He said:
Actually, this is something which we should have been doing since February. It is nothing new really because the Ministry also knows that our 2022 budget was indexed in foreign currency. This is the existing economic environment.
What we are saying is that residents will still be able to pay in local currency but that will be according to the auction rate at the time of billing.
All we want is to ensure that we are able to deliver services to our residents instead of directing the majority of our revenue towards paying salaries.
Councillors have accused managers of bypassing them in coming up with the directive.
Council management reportedly called for a special council meeting after the Town Clerk, Christopher Dube, had already issued a public notice on the issue.