Masvingo City to raise US$325 000 annually from fire levy
MASVINGO – Masvingo City Council has proposed to introduce and raise US$325 000 annually from a new fire levy.
Domestic properties will pay US$1.50; commercial, industrial and institutional properties US$3 and fuel and LP gas US$5 monthly, according to proposals in the 2024 draft budget.
The introduction of the levy comes at a time Government announced that it will withhold US$42m from the Devolution Fund in order to acquire Belarus made fire tenders for each of the country’s 92 local authorities.
The decision torched a storm with critics and some local authority officials accusing Government of trying to create a feeding trough for corrupt politicians. The Belarus fire tenders are said to be too expensive.
Masvingo City Finance Director Danister Jori told stakeholders during a budget consultation meeting at the Civic Centre hall that the levy is meant to finance the capitalisation and operations of the fire rescue services.
He said that the City reports an average of 39 fire outbreaks in six months (January to June 2023).
“This proposal is informed by the high cost of equipment which we are failing to fund from the rates account,” he said.
The local authority will use the levy to procure fire rescue equipment, for maintenance and servicing of the equipment and salaries for fire fighters.
Masvingo has 15 855 residential, 1031 commercial, 21 industrial and 49 institutions that will pay this levy.
Masvingo fire fighters are expected to attend training scheduled for next week after which the local authority expects to receive fire tenders from Government.