By James Martin
Harare City Council’s privately owned company, City Parking is mulling hiking parking fees by 100% a move that will see motorists forking out at least $20 per hour with the city parking institution saying it is following the prevailing exchange rates.
Currently, the interbank rate is standing at USD$1 to ZWL$17.34.
This means that parking fees at the moment with the $10 local currency peg, City Parking is collecting less than USD$0.90 per hour from each vehicle.
“We used to charge USD$1 per hour in the CBD. The current ZW$10 is nowhere close to that hence we are struggling to finance some of the intended capital projects.
“At the prevailing market rates, parking tariff value should be plus or minus ZWL$20. In this current environment, it is difficult to predict tariff adjustments but we maintain flexibility as a key attribute for survival,” Easy Park Public Relations Officer Francis Mandaza has said.
City Parking managing director Simon Muzviyo said City Parking submitted at least 16% of its collections to the City of Harare to which Mandaza said the amount is ZWL$1.2 million per month.
“We consistently remit a monthly revenue share to City of Harare, currently averaging 1.2 million per month,” Mandaza said.
He added “Apart from the month cash transfers, we have partnered the City of Harare in the Urban Renewal Program by way of adopting Julius Nyerere Way Island for beautification, with more of such projects on the way.
“We also undertook to mark parking bays and road markings in the CDB.”
However, when Open Council sought elaboration on City Parking’s collections at least for the past two years, Mandaza said the City Parking’s finance manager was on leave and could not provide such information.
The failure by the City Parking to avail its revenue collections goes against public finance management act whose thrust is transparency and accountability of public funds.
Harare City Council is the sole shareholder of the City Parking.
Last week Harare Mayor councillor Hebert Gomba hinted that the parking fees in Harare should be increased since the current fee value has been eroded by inflation.
Like many business institutions, City Parking has also not been spared from the negatives brought about by the change to a local currency shift in June 2019.
“During the USD era, operational costs and overhead costs were fairly stable and predictable as compared to the after the introduction of the local currency,” Mandoza said.
“Some of our systems were outsourced from other countries and remittance of software licence fees became impossible as such transactions.
“The prevailing inflationary environment means that parking tariffs have to be adjusted on a regular basis and this causes outcries from motoring public.