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Harare City Council to increase planning fees

By Helen Kadirire

The Harare City Council (HCC)’s department of town planning is set to review its fees as the municipality continues to look for ways to boost its revenue.

According to minutes of council’s Environmental Committee, HCC’s director of works Zvenyika Chawatama has been asked to submit an exhaustive list of fee categories to be reviewed, together with his recommendations.

“The committee expressed the need for Chawatama to look at the divisions under his purview to find where fees can be charged or raised in order to increase revenue collection and make a recommendation to the finance and development committee,” reads part of the minutes.

HCC is currently reeling from massive debts and owes its employees more than three months’ salaries.

The bulk of the city’s revenue is gobbled by the salary bill.

Last year, outgoing Harare mayor Bernard Manyenyeni revealed that out of the $13 million collected monthly by council, $9 million was going towards salaries at the detriment of service delivery.

“The city’s wage bill is the elephant in the room and until that is addressed we will continue to have problems. If it was cut by at least 40 percent we would be able to provide decent services for the ratepayers,” Manyenyeni said.

The mayor is also on record arguing that the city pays way more than the private sector, with street sweepers earning more than $400 per month.

Among some of the fees to be reviewed are those relating to regularisation, special consent for cluster houses; basic subdivision applications and liquor licence fees, currently pegged at $1 150, $230, $230 and $115, respectively.

Other categories include fees for extension of time to current permit, beacon relocation for land survey, shop licence and change of reservation, presently pegged at $115, $200, $60 and $230.

HCC is currently charging $57,50 for temporary authority for use of space, $230 for permits for road show or event march, $75 for posters per 100 posters (plus $100 deposit refundable), $64 for route permit for kombis and taxis and $200 for town planning fees. Daily News.