By Correspondent

Chiredzi Rural District Council (RDC) is now owed over US$1 million by, mainly, the business community, a situation which is seriously undermining service provision.

According to Chiredzi officials sugarcane farmers, Government departments and Safari operators are the major debtors.

This is despite the fact these entities are the major beneficiaries of council services in the district.

Chiredzi Council’s Finance Committee chairperson, Alderman Murawu Munyengeri revealed that they are struggling to get the debtors to pay.

“The council is owed US$ 1 047 402,48 by corporates, Government departments, business, residential stand owners, council schools, sugarcane farmers, rate payers and safari operators.

“Some companies have reasonable amounts but sugarcane farmers constitute the largest amount and we also have problems with Safari operators,” he said.

Munyengeri cited political connections as a major reason some debtors are not remitting their rates to the local authority.

According to Chiredzi Council officials sugarcane farmers account for 90% of that debt and at one time the local authority almost contracted debt collectors to recover the amounts.

This was only stopped after payment plans were agreed.

However, since then he said there is little activity with farmers failing to meet the agreements.

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