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Broke Harare council begs Reserve Bank for cash

CASH-STRAPPED Harare City Council (HCC) has approached the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) seeking a US$30 million bailout to fund some projects including roads, water and sewer services.

This comes as the HCC has been struggling to buy a new fleet of garbage collection trucks and other service vehicles due to funding constraints.

Workers have gone without salaries while the provision of water treatment chemicals, sewer maintenance and repairs has been deteriorating.

Information at hand suggests that the 2022 projects were initially meant to be financed by devolution funds from central government.

But the local authority found no joy from Treasury, forcing the city fathers to explore possible alternatives.

The bid, however, flopped as the central bank would have none of it.

Documents show that council was seeking support from the RBZ for 19 projects totalling US$29,4 million. The major project, in value terms, is the Firle Treatment Works worth US$8,5 million.

This is followed by a project for chloride dioxide technology at Morton Jeffrey water works worth US$5,4 million. 

A US$4,3 million project for pumps at Letombo Pump station and a  US$1,5 million ancillary works at Darwendale and Warren Control lack funding.

Contacted for comment, HCC acting town clerk Mabhena Moyo confirmed the development but downplayed the funding request. “We have not made any proposals, we just had a general discussion,” he said.

RBZ governor John Mangudya could not comment on the issue. “While our doors are very open to everyone, we are not Treasury and therefore don’t make any budget allocations to anyone. I am not sure what it is you are saying they (council) wanted but we are not Treasury.  “If they have their local currency and want to get USD from the auction, then we will be glad to assist them in the same way we have assisted everyone on the auction. I can confirm there is lots of foreign currency available and we have no backlog,” Mangudya said.

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