BULAWAYO City Council (BCC) has opened a special foreign currency desk at the Revenue Hall to serve ‘everyone’ paying in foreign currency.
The counter located at the Licensing Section, will display exchange rates that are updated on a daily basis at the banking halls for ease of conversion as all forms of foreign currency would be accepted.
In a statement, BCC town clerk, Christopher Dube said such a measure was necessary to raise revenue as the city was not exempted from the recent macro-economic downturn which has affected the country.
“Bulawayo’s financial position has been depleted and Council is barely managing to remain afloat and provide basic and decent services. The situation is dire and untenable and calls on the City of Bulawayo to implement austerity measures to make sure there continued service delivery,” he said.
To that effect, the council opened an ‘appropriate’ Foreign Currency Account [Domestic FCA] to cater for forex payments as part of policy options and strategies to address the socio- economic factors.
The town clerk said council had implemented the Diaspora Payment of Rates-“Khumbula Ekhaya Rates” as some of the measures to rake in forex.
“An offer of 50 percent discount incentive is availed to foreign currency payments from ratepayers in the Diaspora to settle their rates through their Nostro accounts. This is, however, not limited to this category of Diaspora ratepayers alone, but also applies to Local ratepayers who have access to hard currency,” he noted.
The modalities of this facility are such that, off shore ratepayers can pay directly to Council’s Foreign Currency Account via their accounts, said Dube.
“Ratepayers pay directly in cash through the express window for foreign currency at the Revenue Hall which has been made available for such payments. All payments made in foreign currency payments will have discounts as follows:
“Full settlement attracts a 50 percent discount on total amount owing and part payments will get discounts on a pro rata basis. This facility will run for an initial period of six months from 17 December 2018,” explained the town clerk.
The council has also effected that foreigners and international organisations to pay for services in foreign currency
“All international organisations that are operating within the City who pay for Council Services through their landlords or directly to City Council, are now expected to make payments in foreign currency with immediate effect. They are also encouraged to utilise the express window at Revenue Hall when making payments,” Dube said.
Meanwhile, the council has also come up with a Special Stands Express Programme where low density residential stands will be pre-sold to beneficiaries in foreign currency in order to raise servicing costs.
“77 low density residential stands in Selbourne Park have been identified to pilot this programme. This scheme is open to both people in the Diaspora and locals with access to foreign currency funds,” said the town clerk.
The above measures, according to Dube have been taken to strengthen the multi-currency system for financial and price stability and to increase inflows of foreign currency for sustained service delivery.