Kariba municipality is saddled with a ballooning electricity bill, salary arrears and statutory obligations fuelled by low revenue collection which is affecting service delivery, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee of Local Government has heard.
The Zesa electricity bill is now at $30 million and growing at a rate of $3 million every month while workers have three months outstanding salaries.
Kariba municipality’s wedge to offset the bill for services rendered to Zesa is only $1 million per month, leaving a gap of $3 million every month.
Council has also proposed that Zesa pays for its numerous installations including power lines to counterbalance what it owes.
Another option was for a special rate or a model like the community ownership schemes found in other areas.
Briefing a visiting parliamentary committee, acting town clerk Mr Godfrey Magijani said the disparity between what is being collected and the cost of providing service was too wide.
“We are currently collecting around 45 percent of the bills we send out to the residents and ratepayers which is significantly affecting our operations,”
said Mr Magijani.
Portfolio committee chairperson Mr Joel Gabbuza said some of the challenges Kariba was facing require Government intervention.
“We have heard the issues affecting Kariba municipality in service provision and we are going to compile a report which will be forwarded to the relevant committees and Government for resolution,”
The committee toured the town’s water treatment station, Mahombekombe where 390 families are set to be moved as their houses fall under a 33kva powerline.
They also toured the Kariba People’s Market where they expressed concern at the slow pace of development.