Home News Goromonzi residents decry unconsulted communal development levy imposition

Goromonzi residents decry unconsulted communal development levy imposition

by Bustop TV News

By Panashe Kaseke

Residents of Goromonzi have expressed their discontent over the recently imposed communal development levy, which requires individuals aged 18 to 75 years to pay $3 per capita.

The levy has sparked significant debate, with many residents arguing that the tax imposition was introduced without proper consultation and has exacerbated their financial burdens amidst declining service delivery.

In one household, the cumulative levy paid amounts to $12, encompassing payments from the husband, wife, and two children who are all above the age of 18.

“It’s difficult for us residents to fork out such an amount of money,” Mary Nyadombe, one resident shared, emphasizing the financial strain the levy imposes on families already struggling to make ends meet.

The lack of dialogue between residents and local authorities is a critical concern. Many feel that their voices are not being heard, and the imposition of such levies without prior consultation undermines the principles of transparency and community engagement.

“There was no consultation at all with residents it was just a tax imposition and Village heads were told that their subjects must pay US$3 per Capita to fund Goromonzi District Council budget as part of Resource mobilisation,” said Mary.

“As residents we are not happy with the current tax imposition because we are not seeing something tangible in terms of service delivery 30 % administration:70 % service delivery.”

“Consultation is important all the time people centred approach is the key to development. There is a need for dialogue between residents and local authorities to ensure that any imposed levies are fair and manageable for the community,” she added.

Masimba Manyanya, another Goromonzi resident highlighted the precarious financial situation and the challenges of managing household needs and the communal development levy under growing economic pressure.

“Our household income has not grown over past decade. In fact it has shrunk. Meaning just as household needs ( health, food subsistence) have grown, we don’t have money to save. Our help has come from the Diaspora, but this cannot be programmed because it’s not regular.”

The communal development levy, sanctioned under the Rural District Councils (RDC) Act Chapter 29:13, permits local authorities to charge rates, levies, and taxes to fund local developments. However, the residents argue that the rising costs do not correlate with the quality of services provided.

“In the past we used to pay a flat figure $4 for the entire home. The change to per capita levy has increased to what we have to pay by more than 100%. The household budget is being squeezed, poverty margins are closing in. We are witnessing rising costs for declining services,” Masimba highlights the growing dissatisfaction among the populace.

“We have been struggling with our council over the deplorable local services.  We have very bad roads and there is shortage of medicines and ambulances in our local clinics. Local services are not improving but the amounts we are paying are rising. But what really is a problem to us is the decision being made by the council to buy expensive vehicles for the chief executive officer and the vice. So we are now confused with their intentions. It appears as if the council is out to take our money and spend it on their luxuries.

“Now we are in the middle of a dry year, this year is not supposed to be a year we expect our government or even local authorities to bring new taxes or levies. This is the time were we expect them to actually relieve us of whatever taxes or levies in place,” he added.

Local authorities defend the levy, stating that it is necessary to fund crucial development projects within the community. They argue that without such levies, the council would struggle to maintain and improve local infrastructure and services. Nevertheless, the call for a more collaborative approach in decision-making processes remains loud and clear among Goromonzi residents.

As the debate continues, it remains to be seen whether local authorities will heed the residents’ calls for consultation and re-evaluation of the communal development levy. For now, the financial strain and dissatisfaction persist, underscoring the need for a balanced and inclusive approach to community development.

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