Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has implored residents to pay rates in foreign currency saying suppliers and service providers were rejecting the local currency while a lot of workers continued to resign in search of employment opportunities that pay wages in US dollars.
Council Financial Director Dumisani Nkomo said this at the council’s 2024 budget press briefing.
“The council is finding it tough to balance the need to deliver quality service while being burdened with a currency that is not attractive. Residents are demanding quality service delivery paid for in local currency which is regrettable but understandable,” he said.
The council is a price taker when it comes to its inputs and this makes service delivery inputs unaffordable. The City of Bulawayo is obliged by law to accept payment in all currencies including RTGS. The city will however, encourage residents to pay in United States dollars so that rates can stabilise.
“It is also important to know those suppliers of inputs and services continue to reject the local currency, preferring to be paid in USD or pricing goods in local currency at inflated prices to compensate for conversion to local currency at official rates used by the council”, said Nkomo.
Poor remunerations of staff have led to skills flight from council with staff members seeking better-paying jobs. Workers prefer to be paid in foreign currency as opposed to the local currency which the council is currently paying.
The council said, “The 2024 budget will maintain USD tariffs charged in 2023 while the RTGS component will vary according to official rates that would be prevailing on the day”.