The Chinhoyi municipality is owed $40 million by rate payers, with the bulk of the debt being in the real estate sector.

A presentation on the performance of the municipality’s 2018 budget performance up to end of June showed the local authority is owed just over $40 million by rate payers, with the real estate sector owing $15 million.

Chinhoyi Finance Director, Zephania Chirarwe told stakeholders attending a budget consultative meeting that in turn, the municipality is also riddled with a $19 million debt, which it hopes to offset by taking measures to recover part of what it is owed.

He however noted that there is a low revenue collection efficiency, which has the municipality’s expenditure for the first half of the year reaching the 33 percent mark of the total target budget up to June, initially pegged at $10 million.

“Our debtors’ balance is $40 million and we owe our creditors $19,3 million with salary arrears standing at $1,35 million but we hope to clear them by December. We have a low collection efficiency,” he said.

Chinhoyi Town Clerk, Maxwell Kaitano told stakeholders the municipality has to focus on the low hanging fruits that can make its revenue inflows improve, and these include the proposed use of prepaid water metres.

He said council should also deliberate on whether to continue with road and electricity levies which he said have been performing dismally.

“We want to review some levies, the roads and electricity levies have been performing badly. So we have to consider if we should continue having them or find other ways of funding municipal operations,” Kaitano said.

The Chinhoyi municipality hopes to attain city status by December and the local authority strongly believes it is creditworthy to attain such a status.