Local Authority

ZIMRA garnishes City of Gweru accounts

MARTIN MAWAYA

City of Gweru’s bank accounts were recently garnished by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) over ZWG 3 million in tax arrears.

The garnishing of the accounts comes at a time when the local authority is struggling to provide services to the residents.

City of Gweru is a non-profit entity, and the bulk of the money sent to the tax collector each month includes Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) which it deducts from the salaries and wages of its employees before depositing the remainder in their respective bank accounts.

Of note, a garnishee order is used as a last resort in cases where the tax payer has been uncooperative.

But council says the garnishee has constrained its operations and capacity to offer effective services to the ratepayers.

Addressing the ordinary full council meeting on Monday, Mayor Councilor Martin Chivhoko stated that the Midlands Province capital has not been able to transact since the placement of the garnishee order.

“ZIMRA garnished our bank accounts last week Tuesday over arrears of ZWG3 257 810, in respect of PAYE and VAT. We have not been able to transact since the placement of the garnishee order to date.

“As of Friday last week, a total of ZWG2 159 858.83 has been transferred from our accounts to ZIMRA in compliance with the garnish order,” he said.

“I am pained that salary payments have once again been derailed due to the ZIMRA action. I am also encouraging our esteemed councilors to compliment management efforts by encouraging residents to honour their bills,” added Mayor Chivhoko.

Chivhoko said his council is putting up measures to control expenditures.

“Revenue collected and expenditures should match. I thus encourage that we control expenditure matching up with the revenue that we collect,” he said.

The local authority’s creditors’ book has ballooned to ZWG 26 948 768 as of May 31, 2024, and its major creditors include ZIMRA, ZEDTC, and LAPF.

These creditors have started taking action to recover the outstanding amounts.

In addition, as of May 31, 2024, the debtors have increased to ZWG 143 797 086, with government departments owing the council ZWG17 780 330.

The Mayor has since pleaded with the ministries to clear their debts and urged the finance department to enhance its collection efforts to ameliorate the situation.

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