BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) is now offering a 50% discount to domestic debtors and 30% to industrial debtors paying their bills in foreign currency.

Councils began indexing rates in foreign currency recently to avert inflationary pressures that have rendered the local currency virtually useless.

City fathers have blamed inflation for the crumbling service delivery in the city.

“Considerations had been done to ratify the management decision to index tariffs to the United States dollar and that while billing would be in Zimbabwean dollars, payments could be done both in local currency and foreign currency at the ruling interbank exchange rate,” the minutes read.

The minutes note that councillor Edwin Ndlovu said since council needed foreign currency for service delivery and because government was already charging some of its services in foreign currency, while civil servants were being paid part of their salaries in US dollars, it was, therefore, prudent for council to offer a 50% discount to residents paying in foreign currency.

The minutes added: “Councillors Lilian Mlilo, Silas Chigora and Felix Mhaka concurred and supported the 50% discount on foreign currency payments for domestic debts. Councillor Joyce Ndlovu enquired on how Zimdollar charges would be converted into US dollars.

“Councillor Donaldson Mabuto supported the 50% discount and encouraged residents to pay their bills. Deputy mayor Councillor Mlandu Ncube said that council bills should be made in both local and foreign currencies.

“Council need foreign currency to acquire consumables and meet labour demands. Charging 50% discount to residents paying in foreign currency is prudent,” Alderman Earnest Rafomoyo concurred. He supported the recommendations.

BCC then resolved that domestic debt payments in foreign currency be offered 50% discount and industrial accounts 30%, and that the financial director should come up with an impact assessment on how the discounts would affect service delivery.

Payments in local currency were still permissible at the ruling interbank exchange rate.

Indications are that residents are in support of the 50% discount on foreign currency payments.

Source Newsday