Zimbabwe: Bulawayo Residents Write to Council Over U.S. Dollar Billing, Demand Evidence Councillors Were Involved

BULAWAYO residents under the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA), have written to the Bulawayo city council expressing displeasure over the local authority’s recent decision to levy rates in US dollars.

Last week council announced that residents will now pay their service charges and levies in US dollars at the prevailing bank rate with effect from June 1, 2022.

In a notice to residents and other stakeholders, Bulawayo town clerk Christopher Dube said the move had been necessitated by the depreciation of the Zimbabwe dollar.

BPRA have however blasted council over the issue and urged the local authority to find other ways of raising revenue.

“The reality on the ground is that a lot of residents are actually falling behind in paying council bills and rentals in local currency and there is no way that charging in US dollars will turn this reality around.

“A return to US dollar payments will actually worsen the plight of residents who live on out of pocket transactions.

“While we understand the challenges, council is faced with in providing service delivery, our key question remains; whose reality really counts,?

“Is it that of council or that ordinary rate payers, the majority of whom are living in poor conditions and abject poverty,” reads part of BPRA’s letter.

The residents association has also accused council management of unilaterally coming up with the new payment regime without the approval of councilors.

Council has however called for a stakeholders meeting Monday to discuss the issue.

Residents have vowed to boycott the meeting until the local authority produces evidence in the form of full council minutes to indicate that due procedure was followed and a full council resolution was passed to effect the re-alignment of the tariff charges.

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