Harare City Council has introduced a cocktail of measures to cut costs and enhance revenue collection as the local authority forges with solutions to improve service delivery.
The measures come in the backdrop of foreign currency scarcity and revenue is being eroded by inflationary pressures.
Addressing delegates at the End of Term Review Of the 7th Phase of the City of Harare Rapid Results Initiative, Town Clerk Eng Hosiah Chisango said the existence of the interbank exchange rate and the parallel market has affected council operations.
“The past hundred days have also not been easy because our income was not rated but our expenditure continues to be affected by market forces. This therefore put our City in a precarious position where we had to balance the matrix,” he said.
“A cocktail of measures have also been proposed to cut costs and these include the following, these include the reduction of council workshops and attendance by employees to workshops outside Harare. Use of Council facilities for functions and events.”
He said the city will control overtime and ensure departments stick to the approved limits and ensure efficient resource allocation.
Eng Chisango said council has introduced performance management to ensure optimum use of resources and operational efficiency and in the long term automation of some areas will be done to reduce costs.
Turning to the Rapid Results Initiative Eng Chisango said the goals that were being implemented are cross cutting focusing on service delivery, dealing with non-revenue, water, sanitation, waste management, standard operating procedures, planning, social media issues and automation of our systems.
“We expect the teams that have not achieved the desired results to continue implementation and report fortnightly. We are doing a comprehensive evaluation of the rapid results initiatives to enable us to learn and gain information for evidence based decision making,” he said.
“In other cities such as Nairobi in Kenya and Kigali in Rwanda this approach has worked and teams are already doing research so that a comprehensive report can be tabled and we expect this to inform policy formulation in Council.”
Eng Chisango said the next hundred days which are expected to begin on June 1 this year should focus on revenue enhancement and cost containment goals.
He said officials proffered a report to the Finance and Development Committee and proposed a number of strategies to enhance revenue collection.
“The following quick wins have been identified team leaders have been appointed. Regularization of formal built up areas which do not have certificates of compliance, preliminary assessments have indicated that plan submission fees and relevant penalties have the potential to raise an estimated $1, 5 million to $2 million dollars per month for the next three to six months.”
“A blitz on leases to be conducted, non-performing leases to be cancelled and lessees subletting will be punished. This has the potential to raise revenue which will be ascertained after preliminary assessments.”
He said a comprehensive licensing blitz is being implemented and preliminary projections have indicated that this portfolio can yield about $8 million annually.
The blitz has been extended to all properties in residential areas that are being used for commercial purposes such as Belvedere, Milton Park and others.
Eng Chisango said an interdepartmental team has been set up to implement an intensive revenue collection exercise in this sector and preliminary assessments have indicated that about $800 000 per month can be collected from the markets
Council aims to raise US$8 million dollars from selling land to the diaspora.