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Harare city pleads for cheap forex

Eric Chiriga

THE cash-strapped Harare city council wants the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to allow it to access foreign currency at the lower rate of the auction floor.



“Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The council is battling to raise money to import essential chemicals and spare parts.


The Commission-led council also wants to be exempted from paying Value

Added Tax.


Currently at the auction floor the American dollar fetches $6 086,78, whilst the South African rand is $975,05 and the British pound is $11 416,06.


According to the 2005 budget proposals by the acting chairman for Harare, Priscilla Mupfumira, the city’s finances continue to deteriorate because of a severe cash-flow problem.


“Your council’s operations have been greatly compromised by shortages of foreign currency. The city has not been able to acquire any plant and equipment, spares for road maintenance vehicles and refuse trucks as forex problems persist,” she said.


She said council wanted to negotiate with the RBZ with a view to obtaining foreign currency at the lower official rate. The commission also wants the Ministry of Finance to exempt it from paying duty and VAT on water treatment chemicals and related equipment.


Mupfumira said most of the credit facilities with various suppliers had been closed and council was now paying cash upfront, noting that the price of general commodities rose by about 150% resulting in increased operational costs by the same percentage.

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