Council under fire over billing system

By Staff reporter | 12 Apr 2019 at 09:32hrs
Harare
HARARE City Council has come under fire from ratepayers for failing to urgently address its blacked out billing system. The system was disconnected a month ago and ratepayers are up in arms over the blackout, which has denied them access to information regarding their accounts.

The disconnection of the BIQ system has also denied property owners general information on the status of their accounts, while receipting is being done offline and no updates on payments are being done.

In an interview yesterday, Harare Residents Trust director Mr Precious Shumba implored the city fathers to urgently address the challenge which is inconveniencing ratepayers.

"Residents are not being given their monthly bills, they cannot access their payment records which makes it nearly impossible to anticipate how much one owes to the council," he said.

"Residents expect to be given their payment details once they pay their bills. All this has frustrated them and they expect to see an urgent address to this challenge."

Mr Shumba said the BIQ system must be addressed sooner for the benefit of the ratepayers. Some residents who spoke to this publication said they suspected the council was using estimates to bill them, resulting is some of them receiving high bills.

Harare City Council corporate communications manager Mr Michael Chideme said work and measures to resolve the challenge were in progress.

"Quill Associates switched off the BIQ system arising from a dispute on the annual licence fee which they had unilaterally increased to US$35 000 from US$75 000," he said.

"They increased the licence fees by over 100 percent and imposed other conditions which we could not agree to without justification.

"Whilst the parties were negotiating on the increase, that is when Quill Associates switched off the system. However, we have instituted measures to protect customer information. And we are working to resolve these challenges."

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