Gweru City Council has dollarized its services, charging rates, and levies in both local and foreign currencies. The accounting system has been configured to accommodate those paying using forex. In Midlands Province, the local authority joins Kwekwe City Council which also introduced dual pricing at the beginning of the month. The big question is where do the residents get the foreign currency to pay for these rates and levies if they’re getting paid in local currency.
The government urged businesses to display both US dollars and Zimbabwe dollar prices for goods and services offered. A resolution to adopt dual pricing in Gweru was adopted by a full council last Friday and the local authority will start sending bills in local and foreign currency.
In an interview, GCC spokesperson, Ms Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the local authority has resolved to adopt dual pricing with effect from September. She said bills will be issued to residents and companies in both foreign currency and the Zimbabwean dollar and the onus will be upon the ratepayer to choose which currency they prefer using as stipulated in Statutory Instrument 185 of 2020.
Ms Chingwaramusee said the motion was approved by a full council sitting on Friday at the townhouse. “Council on Friday resolved dual pricing with effect from September. Bills will be issued to residents in both foreign currency and the Zim dollar. The onus will be upon the ratepayer to choose which currency they prefer using as stipulated in statutory instrument 185 of 2020,” she said.
Ms Chingwaramusee said both council and ratepayers will benefit from this new arrangement. Ratepayers, she said, will stand to benefit by getting uninterrupted service since the council will be getting foreign currency to purchase goods and services which are charged especially United States dollars.
“We considered this because inflation is running riot and we are failing to match up. Moreso, when we procure water chemicals, and fuel we need forex which we don’t have. Council benefits because it will be easy for us to buy water chemicals and fuel. Ratepayers will benefit by getting uninterrupted service,” she said.
“Because inflation is running riot it is difficult for the council to continue relying on the Zimbabwe dollar as it constantly loses value and it is difficult for the council to then acquire foreign currency to purchase things like water chemicals and fuel to ensure quality service provision.”
Ms. Chingwaramisee said the accounting system has been reconfigured to accommodate forex payments. “So basically business will be done using the US dollars and the Zimbabwe dollars. The ratepayers will choose whether to use US dollars or local currency for payment,” she said.