Chegutu seeks $1,5m loan

CHEGUTU Town Council has approached Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere seeking borrowing powers as the local authority moves to revamp its obsolete water and sewer reticulation system.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere

Local Government minister Saviour Kasukuwere

The local authority is seeking to raise $1,5 million from borrowings to lay new water pipes and install prepaid meters in the town, where access to potable water has become a dream.

Mayor Leo Gwanzura said Chegutu had a very stable source of water, but residents were failing to access clean water because of aged infrastructure, which was put in place during the Rhodesian era.

“We have a dam that can supply us with water for three years even if we don’t get rains, so the problem is not the water source, but the rotten pipe works and aged pumping system, which has not been given attention for a long time,” he said.

Gwanzura said Chegutu needed to access the $1,5m loan to ensure there is a holistic approach to the water problems faced by the town.

Town clerk Alex Mandigo said the money would also be used to plug leakages and improve revenue collection for the local authority, whose 2017 budget stands at $6m.

“Currently, our water account contributes $40 000 revenue per month, but if we get access to that loan and install prepaid meters, our audit shows that we will be able to collect up to $200 000 per month,” he said.

Mandigo said council was unable to finance the $1,5m project on its own because ratepayers were holding back on payments of their bills.

“Currently, we are owed $5 million in debts and there is a bit of reluctance by our ratepayers to settle their bills, especially as we head towards elections, since there is anticipation of another debt write-off,” he said.

Chegutu made the application late last year, but is yet to get the greenlight from Kasukuwere.