harare logo.jpgLocal government experts say there is need for government and the city of Harare to come up with an amicable agreement on an acceptable billing system as the conflict between the two parties is now affecting ratepayers.

Experts say there is no need for public fights between key stakeholders in the local government sector regarding the zoning billing system as this is now affecting ordinary ratepayers.

Local government expert Mr. Percy Toriro says the zone billing system is fair but is a disadvantage to those who are holding on to large tracts of land for speculative purposes and would not really affect ordinary residents.

“The zoning system is fair to those who have smaller units of land but to those who have large tracts of land it becomes expensive. Since is it is law, local authorities have to abide.” Said Mr Toriro.

Another expert, Mr. Precious Shumba who is also the coordinator of the Harare Residents Trust said there is need for the local authority to ensure full citizens participation in the rating system as the latest developments show not enough consultation was carried out.

“The City of Harare should hold enough consultations as the decisions made affect the ratepayers. For the two parties to have conflict s over the issue of rates it is very unfair.”said Mr Shumba.

Since January this year residents were billed using the zone billing system after council switched its residential rating system from one charging separate rates for land and improvements to one of rates on the land only. However government issued a directive to revert to the old system.

 

The Urban Councils Act provides for the payment of rates using the zone billing system and it forces holders of large areas of land to release it or develop it.