Res­i­dents feel left out of coun­cil’s forex dis­count deal

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Nqo­bile Tshili

BULAWAYO res­i­dents have ex­pressed mixed feel­ings over coun­cil’s 50 per­cent dis­count pol­icy for those set­tling their bills in for­eign cur­rency only as well as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s plans to sell some res­i­den­tial stands in forex.

Bulawayo City Coun­cil started im­ple­ment­ing a 50 per­cent debt can­cel­la­tion pol­icy only for those pay­ing their bills in for­eign cur­rency on De­cem­ber 17.

Coun­cil also said in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions op­er­at­ing in the city are now re­quired to pay for ser­vices in forex.

In in­ter­views yes­ter­day, Bulawayo res­i­dents said while they ap­pre­ci­ate that coun­cil was tak­ing mea­sures to keep the mu­nic­i­pal­ity afloat, the new mea­sures will not ben­e­fit the ma­jor­ity of res­i­dents who are strug­gling to make ends meet.

Bulawayo United Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion (BURA) chair­man Mr Wi­nos Dube de­scribed coun­cil’s move as a gam­ble.

“I think this is 50/50 sit­u­a­tion, coun­cil is try­ing to find means to sur­vive but at the same time it would not get many tak­ers as most peo­ple are not earn­ing for­eign cur­rency but are paid in Real Time Gross Set­tle­ment (RTGS),” said Mr Dube.

“I’m also quite aware that most coun­cil ser­vice providers are de­mand­ing for­eign cur­rency, so the coun­cil is try­ing to sur­vive in this dif­fi­cult eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment.”

He said the lo­cal au­thor­ity should also in­cen­tivise res­i­dents who are not earn­ing for­eign cur­rency as they also owe it.

Bulawayo Pro­gres­sive Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion pro­grammes co­or­di­na­tor Mr Em­manuel Ndlovu said de­mand­ing for­eign cur­rency as pay­ment for res­i­den­tial stands will in­crease the gap be­tween the rich and poor.

He said coun­cil’s 50 per­cent debt can­cel­la­tion pol­icy is unattrac­tive con­sid­er­ing the rates in the par­al­lel mar­ket.

Mr Ndlovu said coun­cil should have im­ple­mented a debt can­cel­la­tion pol­icy for those pay­ing in bond notes or RTGS even if the dis­count rate was much lower.

“The 50 per­cent debt can­cel­la­tion strat­egy is not at­trac­tive at all. It will not get many tak­ers be­cause at a 1:1 rate some­one would rather change his or her for­eign cur­rency on the par­al­lel mar­ket where the rates are higher and then clear their debts. Sell­ing of stands in for­eign cur­rency will see a few lo­cally based res­i­dents own­ing houses as most of them are not get­ting the hard cur­rency,” he said.

“A re­search that was con­ducted at the Na­tional Uni­ver­sity of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (Nust) proves that most houses in the new suburbs are owned by di­as­pora based Zim­bab­weans with most of the oc­cu­pants lodgers. So di­as­po­rans will con­tinue to buy houses while lo­cals will con­tinue be­ing lodgers.” —@nqot­shili A FILABUSI man struck his neigh­bour with a brick on the head re­sult­ing in his death fol­low­ing a mis­un­der­stand­ing dur­ing a drink­ing spree.

Mata­bele­land South provin­cial po­lice spokesper­son, Chief In­spec­tor Philisani Nde­bele con­firmed the in­ci­dent which oc­curred on Wed­nes­day at around 1AM in Lun­yame Vil­lage.

He said Zibu­siso Dube (18) was drink­ing beer with Ken­neth Ng­wenya (32) and Oliver Ng­wenya (19) when a mis­un­der­stand­ing arose.

Ken­neth then struck Dube with a brick on the head.

“I can con­firm that we are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a mur­der case where an 18-year-old Filabusi man, Zibu­siso Dube was killed dur­ing a mis­un­der­stand­ing over an undis­closed is­sue. Dube was drink­ing beer with Ken­neth Ng­wenya and Oliver Ng­wenya at a busi­ness cen­tre where they were also watch­ing a band per­form,” he said.

“A mis­un­der­stand­ing arose be­tween the three men and they started fight­ing. Ken­neth armed him­self with a brick and struck Zibu­siso on the head and he lost con­scious­ness. Zibu­siso sus­tained se­vere head in­juries as a re­sult of the at­tack. He was rushed to Filabusi District Hos­pi­tal where he was pro­nounced dead upon ar­rival. The cause of the mis­un­der­stand­ing is yet to be as­cer­tained.”

Chief Insp Nde­bele said no ar­rests have been made so far.

He ap­pealed to mem­bers of the pub­lic with in­for­ma­tion on the where­abouts of Ken­neth to ap­proach any po­lice sta­tion near them.

The po­lice spokesper­son also ap­pealed to mem­bers of the pub­lic to re­solve dis­putes am­i­ca­bly.

“As po­lice we con­tinue to urge peo­ple to de­sist from re­sort­ing to vi­o­lence in or­der to solve dis­putes. Peo­ple should en­gage a third party when faced with dis­putes in or­der to avoid such in­ci­dents. It’s alarm­ing to see young­sters los­ing their lives un­der such cir­cum­stances.

“Mem­bers of the pub­lic are also urged to main­tain dis­ci­pline dur­ing the fes­tive sea­son. If they are cel­e­brat­ing or en­gaged in other fes­tive ac­tiv­i­ties peo­ple should ob­serve the law,” he said.—@DubeMatutu

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