MUTARE City Council is now owed over $900 million by residents and businesses in unpaid bills, with the figure said to be inflating every month.

Speaking during the State of the City Address recently, mayor – Councillor Blessing Tandi – said the huge debt is adversely affecting the local authority’s revenue collections and thereby crippling their smooth operations as well as compromising service delivery.

“Mutare City Council is owed by ratepayers, with the figure rising from $571m to $911m. The Covid-19 pandemic has not helped matters, necessitating national lockdowns that brought about challenges for everyone and also affected our revenue flows.

“However, we are encouraging residents and businesses to pay up as we also accept payment plans to create convenience,” said Cllr Tandi.

He added that the local authority may have to resort to litigation or engaging private debt collectors to recover what they are owed.

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