Busi­ness raises red flag on coun­cil rates

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THE Busi­ness Eco­nomic Em­pow­er­ment Fo­rum (Beef) says the rates be­ing charged by lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are ad­versely af­fect­ing busi­ness com­pet­i­tive­ness and prof­itabil­ity of key eco­nomic sec­tors.

Beef pres­i­dent Mr Solomon Matsa said a sur­vey car­ried out by the busi­ness em­pow­er­ment body re­vealed that vir­tu­ally all of the coun­try’s mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties’ rates and tar­iff lev­els were ex­or­bi­tant and frus­trated in­vest­ment in­flow into the coun­try.

“We have re­alised that the rates which are be­ing charged by coun­cils are very high na­tion­ally and we are lob­by­ing that come the next fi­nan­cial year, we need to re-look how they are cal­cu­lat­ing rates for prop­er­ties and on the same note we want to en­sure that the prop­erty or land that is within the mu­nic­i­pal ar­eas is given to busi­nesses which are se­ri­ous,” said Mr Matsa.

Lo­cal au­thor­i­ties the world over are a crit­i­cal pil­lar in build­ing a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment that at­tracts in­vest­ment in their ar­eas in line with eco­nomic goals of cen­tral Gov­ern­ments. It is in this re­gard that the craft­ing of coun­cil bud­gets and im­ple­men­ta­tion of by-laws should be guided by broader macro-eco­nomic fun­da­men­tals in a coun­try.

Mr Matsa said lo­cal au­thor­i­ties should also re­pos­sess the land it par­celled to land de­vel­op­ers that are fail­ing to com­mence de­vel­op­ments.

“There is a ten­dency in Zim­babwe whereby a lot of land has been taken by spec­u­la­tors while gen­uine peo­ple in­tend­ing to do busi­ness are side­lined yet those that in­tend to sell the land mul­ti­ple times are the ones that get the land. So the coun­cils must re­pos­sess the land as per the cur­rent Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment pol­icy and sell the land to peo­ple who are se­ri­ous about busi­ness, we also want clear cut terms where de­vel­op­ment of that land is go­ing to hap­pen such that we make use of our land go­ing for­ward,” he said.

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