July Moyo offers to pick up Harare’s Pomona bill in bid to save dodgy deal

HARARE – Under fire Local Government Minister July Moyo has hijacked devolution funds owed to Harare by Treasury to clear a giant bill that has accrued over three months in respect of the controversial Pomona Waste to Energy project entered between the Harare City Council and Netherlands based Geogenix B.V.

This was after Harare Mayor Jacob Mafume has relentlessly dug in on payment insisting the local authority has no capacity to meet the huge amounts.

The deal, okayed by councillors loyal to opposition MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora prior to the March elections which ushered in CCC representatives, enjoins the cash strapped local authority to pay US$40,000 per day to dump waste it has collected at its own cost for the next 30 years at the same dumpsite.

But after coming unstuck in his bid to railroad the opposition dominated council to internalise the deal as well as own up to the financial burdens that come with it, a desperate Moyo has since pledged to divert devolution funds towards payment of the outstanding bills.

Moyo revealed this is a statement on Thursday.

“From the outset and taking into account the fact that Council’s ability to collect revenue is still very poor due to weaknesses in billing, collection efficiency, amongst others, Government has made an undertaking, upon request by Council that it would initially assist the local authority in various ways as it improves its capacity to collect revenue, and this would be, inter-alia; allowing council to use part of its devolution funds to honour its obligation funds; and support council through capitalisation of its waste collection equipment, infrastructure and systems.

“The understanding would be that the local authority’s capacity would improve over the years and eventually and would be able to pay the obligations on their own.

“In particular, Government, as the guarantor, has undertaken to pay the May, June and July installation while council comes up with strategies to improve its financial systems,” he wrote.

The Zanu PF minister took time to scold Mafume and his CCC colleagues for throwing spanners into the wakes of what has largely been dismissed as an opaque deal that seeks to throttle the local authority which is already struggling to meet some basic service delivery to residents.

Led by Mafume, the Harare City Council says the deal does not have the interests of residents in mind but was consummated by individuals who had selfish interests.

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