HARARE City Parking public relations manager Francis Mandaza has revealed plans to charge a parking fee per hour equivalent to the value of the United States dollar on the interbank market.
Mandaza told the Daily News that the company was failing to fulfil its mandate because the $10 per hour it is currently charging is far less than the US$1 it used to charge in the multi-currency era.
"We used to charge US$1 per hour in the central business district, and the current $10 is nowhere close to that hence we are struggling to finance some of the intended capital projects," he said.
He said linking the parking fees to the interbank rate will shore up Harare City Parking's finances.
"During the USD era, operational costs and overhead costs were fairly stable and predictable compared to the period after introduction of local currency, hence the need to adjust the fees to match the interbank rate.
"The parking tariff value should be plus or minus $20 at the prevailing market rates…the prevailing inflationary environment means that parking tariffs have to be adjusted on a regular basis…," he said.
Last month, City parking hiked its fees by 100 percent from the initial $5 per hour to $10 per hour. They also hiked charges for clamping and towing of vehicles by a staggering 1 000 percent. Motorists in the capital now pay $500 in wheel-clamping fees for light vehicles, up from $40. Tow-away fees were also raised from $60 to $700.
Mandaza's sentiments come barely a fortnight after Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba called on the city's parking unit to increase its fees by 110 percent to enable the local authority to revamp roads, adding that the current fee value has been eroded by inflation.
"City parking must charge a fee that enables us to reconstruct central business district (CBD) roads, the $10 rate is a reduction from the US$1 people used to pay, the real charge must be $21rtgs and money must be used to revamp our CBD roads," Gomba said.
He added that council has been subsidising or charging rates, fees that are not economical and of no use to refurbish or build new infrastructure which has led to the current problems.
Gomba said Harare was not getting enough money from the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara).
"The Urban Councils Act says money from parking must be used for road-related programmes, and the fact that we are not getting enough funds from Zinara we want to raise funds from city parking to complement the funds from Zinara," he said.