Mzuzu City Council has engaged government for a K2 billion bailout to settle arrears it owes suppliers of goods and services.Debts have continued to paralyse operations of the council as sheriffs have impounded its vehicles, including the only skip carrier.
In an interview on Friday on the sidelines of a media engagement in Mzuzu, the council’s chief executive officer Gomezgani Nyasulu said they are failing to generate enough revenue to meet operational needs.
“The situation is compromising the service delivery because we are talking of critical equipment that we are missing that was used to carry out expected services to the residents such as waste collection,” he said.
Nyasulu said if the bailout is successful, they can settle the debt and continue to provide services to the city residents.
Newly elected Mzuzu City mayor Gift Desire Nyirenda hinted at coming up with ways to restore people’s confidence to improve compliance in the payment of city rates.
Reacting to the call for a bailout, Ministry of Finance spokesperson Williams Banda said since the country is experiencing the forth-wave of Covid-19, the focus is on financing hospitals to respond effectively to the pandemic.
“Detailed information on the bailout can be provided by Local Government Finance Committee [LGFC],” he said.
LGFC spokesperson Hamilton Chimala said they submitted a consolidated request to the Ministry of Finance on the bailout of the councils’ arrears.
He said: “We were advised that councils should wait for an audit of the arrears by National Audit Office.
“NLGFC is also continuously engaging councils to improve local revenue mobilisation strategies to increase their finances.”