CHIPINGE TIMES REPORTER
MUTARE-Cash strapped Mutare City Council (MCC) is with effect from July 1, 2023 billing its goods and services in United States Dollars (US$). The rates are payable in ZWL$ at the prevailing interbank rate on the day of payment.
City spokesperson Spren Mutiwi told Chipinge Times in an interview that there is nothing amiss with the development and added that other local authorities are already charging in US$.
He said billing in US$ will preserve value of the money which is being affected by hyperinflation in ZWL$.
“With effect from 1st of July 2023 all council billing will be done strictly in United States Dollars. Residents and stakeholders have a choice to effect payment either in USD or in ZWL$ converted at the prevailing official exchange rate at the date of payment.
“With effect from the said date Council will now maintain all the debtor balances and index tariffs for services in US$. Statements will reflect US$ balances and this is in line with the 2023 budget approved tariffs which is based on US$ charged at the prevailing official auction rate. This development is meant to preserve value given the exchange volatility,” said Mutiwi.
Efforts to get a comment from United Mutare Residents and Ratepayers Trust (UMRRT) director Edson Dube by the time of going to Press were futile.
The development has drawn mixed feelings from ratepayers most of whom are earning ZWL$.
Zanu PF Mutare Central constituency candidate and transport mogul Isau Mupfumi said most residents are earning ZWL$ and cannot afford to pay bills in US$.
“The local authority cannot just wake up and decree to ratepayers that they should pay their bills in US$ with immediate effect. That is outrageous to say the least. Government is charging everything in local currency and anyone who charges in US$ should be arrested,” fumed Mupfumi.