Name of student: CHIYANGWA YONFRED
Student number: N01414864X
Title of the research project: Investigating the effectiveness of revenue collection strategies on improving Harare city council revenue collection.
Degree title: Bachelor of Commerce Accounting (Honours) Degree.
Year granted: 2018
Permission is hereby granted to the National University of Science and Technology Library to produce single copies of this project and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly, or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves other publication rights and neither the project nor extensive contracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author’s written permission.
Permanent address: No 19 11th crescent warren park 1 Harare
Contact Details: 0779853298
Student’s signature: ………………………….…
Date: APRIL 2018
I,CHIYANGWA YONFRED (N01414864X), do hereby declare that this research report is the result of my own work, except to the extent indicated in the acknowledgements, references and by comments included in the body of the report, and that it has not been submitted in part or in full for any other degree to any other university.
Name of student
The undersigned certify that they have read and recommended to the Department of Accounting, NATIONAL UNIVERSITY of SCIENCE and TECHNOLOGY, for acceptance; a project titled, “Investigating the effectiveness of revenue collection strategies on improving Harare city council revenue collection”, submitted by CHIYANGWA YONFRED (N01414864X) in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor Of Commerce Accounting Honours Degree.
Name of Supervisor
This project is lovingly dedicated to my family the Chiyangwas, my uncle Rollen, Christy, Shelton, my mom Grace, Leavier my brother Tinashe and my fiancée Christina K.C.
Thanks are due to a number of people for assisting in making this dissertation a reality. I firstly give praise to the Almighty God making everything possible. Heartily thank my supervisor Ms Warima for her coaching and guidance. I also feel indebted to extend my sincere heartfelt thanks to all the lecturers who generously imparted the knowledge to me in my academic endeavors.
I am also grateful to the Harare city council staff for their support during data collection process, their contributions and are recognized and highly appreciated. I owe my deepest gratitude to my friends for their pieces of advice, prayers, and love, which have contribution in completion of this work.
Lastly, I offer my regards and blessings to my lovely lady Christina Chidharara and my family for encouragement during the whole period of the study. Since it is not easy to mention everyone individually, I take this opportunity to praise all people who, in one way or another, kindly assisted me to fulfill objectives of this study. I also thank all of those who will appreciate to use this dissertation for reference and find it resourceful.
This study purports to identify Local Authorities revenue collection strategies and challenges faced, investigating how to improve Local Authorities revenue collection. The aim was to come up with ways to maximize revenue generation to sustain Harare City Council financially and enables it to improve on service delivery. Basing on the main theme of the study, research instruments such as questionnaires and review of secondary data sources were used to gather information to address the phenomena under study. A sample was considered grouping the population into strata and then convenience sampling was used. The data collected was presented analysed and interpreted in chapter four. SPSS and Excel were used to analyse the data. Chapter five presents summary of the research findings with a response rate 80,65%.
The study discovered few revenue collection strategies which are being useful to the Harare city council namely installation and use of point of sale (POS) machines and other mobile money platforms like Ecocash at all Council revenue collection points and coming up with an arrangement of a payment plan between the Council and ratepayers to settle the outstanding debts. The study identified the following strategies to be not effective enough namely service disconnection, legal action against defaulters, charging penalties (delinquency charges), terminating all non-performing leases, as well as aggressive door to door follow ups. This is due to the revenue collection leakages which are corruption, fraud, misappropriation of generated revenue, ineffective controls, incorrect billing as well as lack of experienced revenue collection personnel. The introduction of prepaid mater meters has been investigated and was identified as a useful strategy to eliminate debt accumulation and unrecorded revenue through service disconnection but only useful if a portion of free water is being allocated to avoid diseases outbreaks.
The evidence from the study concludes that only two strategies are being able to significantly generate revenue for Harare city council. The evidence even further proves that these two effective revenue collection strategies may not produce the intended outcome if they is no clear nexus between service delivery and rates payment. Residents default paying council bills because they are not willing to pay for those bills, since council is not rendering quality service. Council should embark on quality service delivery to encourage voluntary payment by residents to improve revenue collection so as fulfill the world class city by 2025.
Table of Contents
RELEASE FORM i
APPROVAL FORM iii
Table of Figures xii
Table of Tables xiii
Chapter 1 1
1.0. Introduction 1
1.1. Background of the study 1
1.2. Statement of the problem 3
1.3.0. Objectives of the Study 3
1.3.1. Specific Research objectives 3
1.3.2. Main Research Question 3
1.3.3. Sub Research questions 3
1.4. Significance of the study 4
1.5. Delimitations of the study 4
1.6. Limitations of the study 5
1.7. Research assumption 5
1.8.0. LITERATURE REVIEW 5
1.8.1. Revenue collection Leakages 6
1.8.2. Local Government Own Revenue Instruments 6
1.8.3. Revenue Collection Strategies 6
1.8.4. Other Countries Revenue Collection 7
1.9 Research Methodology 7
1.10. Data Presentation 8
1.11. Conclusion 8
CHAPTER 2 9
LITERATURE REVIEW 9
2.0. Introduction 9
2.1.0. Revenue collection leakages 9
2.1.1. Poor infrastructure and revenue management 9
2.1.2. Corruption, nepotism and payment informalities 10
2.1.3. Incorrect and inaccurate billing systems 11
2.1.4. Demotivated employees 12
2.1.5. Noncompliance by ratepayers 12
2.2.0. Local authorities’ own revenue instruments 13
2.2.1. Property taxies 13
2.2.2. User charges 14
2.2.3. Development levy 14
2.2.4. Business licenses 15
2.3.0. Revenue collection strategies 15
2.3.1. Revenue Outsourcing 15
126.96.36.199. Enforcement Instruments 16
188.8.131.52. Overdue notice 16
184.108.40.206. Cut off notice 16
220.127.116.11. Final legal demand 16
18.104.22.168. Summons 17
22.214.171.124. Payment Plans 17
126.96.36.199. Service disconnection 18
188.8.131.52. Interest and Fines 18
2.4.0. Other Countries Revenue Collection 19
Chapter Summary 21
CHAPTER THREE 22
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 22
3.0. INTRODUCTION 22
3.1. RESEARCH DESIGN 22
3.1.1. Descriptive design 22
3.1.2 Population 23
3.2 Sampling 23
3.2.1 Stratified Sampling 24
3.2.2 Convenience sampling 24
3.3 Data collection procedure 24
3.4 Primary Sources of Data 25
3.5 Research Instruments 25
3.5.2 Questionnaires 25
3.6 Secondary Sources of Data 26
3.7.1Validity of research instruments 27
3.7.2Reliability of research instruments 27
3.8. Data Analysis 28
3.9. Data Presentation 28
3.10 Ethical Consideration 28
3.11 Summary 29
CHAPTER FOUR 30
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION 30
4.0. Introduction 30
4.1. Questionnaire response rate 30
4.2. Demographic Characteristics 31
4.3. Highest level of education 32
4.4. Professional qualifications in Finance 33
4.5. Trained for Revenue Collection 34
4.6. Work Experience 34
4.7. Findings as per Objective 35
4.7.1. To identify revenue collection strategies used by local authorities 35
4.7.2. Does Harare city council outsource revenue collection? 36
4.7.3. Rating revenue collection process 36
4.7.4. Revenue collection strategies used by HCC 37
4.8. The effectiveness of own source revenue instruments used in financing Harare City Council. 41
4.9. To identify possible reasons for defaults in payments by rate payers 43
4.9.1. Unwillingness to Pay 43
4.9.2. Unaffordability of Rates 43
4.9.3. Poverty 44
4.9.4. Inefficiencies at Council Collection Points 44
4.9.5. Total forgetfulness 44
4.9.6. Poor financial administration 44
4.10. Challenges faced in revenue collection 45
4.10.1. Misappropriation of revenue 45
4.10.2. Corruption and Fraud 45
4.10.3. Ineffective Internal Controls 46
4.10.4. Unqualified and Inexperienced Personnel 46
4.10.5. Incorrect Billing 46
4.11. Prepaid water system introduction 47
4.12. What should Harare city council do to enhance ratepayers’ compliance? 47
4.13. Chapter Summary 47
CHAPTER FIVE 48
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 48
5.0. INTRODUCTION 48
5.1. Summary of Chapter 48
5.2. Major Findings 49
5.3. Conclusion 50
5.4. Recommendations 50
5.4.1. Installation of Prepaid Water Meters 50
5.4.2. Discounts 51
5.4.3. Promotions 51
5.4.4. Quality Service Provision 51
5.4.5. Advertisements 52
5.5. Recommendation for future research 52
REFERENCE LIST 53
Appendix 1: Cover Letter 60
Appendix 2: Questionnaire for Harare city council employees 61
Appendix 3: Questionnaire for Residents 65
Table of Figures
Figure 1: Highest level of education 32
Figure 2: Qualification in Finance 33
Figure 3: Training in revenue collection 34
Figure 4: Working experience 35
Figure 5: rate revenue collection 36
Figure 6: REVENUE COLLECTION STRATEGIES 38
Figure 7: Revenue Sources 42
Table of Tables
Table 1: Target Population 23
Table 2: Questionnaire response rate 30
Table 3: Age profile 31
Revenue is the bloodstream of any organisation’s wellbeing, therefore quality products and services depends on the availability of it. Citizens expect the best quality services from their local authorities for example, clean water, green environment free from waste, best health facilities and proper housing facilities. The opposite has become true for our country’s local authorities as they are failing to provide standard services.
1.1. Background of the study
Corruption has been the major challenge given the state at which our country’s economy is in. Corruption has been viewed as cancer for local authorities’ inefficiency in revenue collection (IMF, 2014). The economy is on its knees and every employee will use that little opportunity to make extra dollars to the fullest, thus leading to the acceptance of bribes by employees of local authorities. For instance, water disconnection team accepts bribes instead of disconnecting water supply to defaulting ratepayers. Similarly with city parking team, instead of clamping vehicles and receipting proceeds received they rather accept bribes so that they fatten their pockets at the expenses of the councils. This case is the same case with city parking clamping team accepting bribes for not clamping vehicles to supplement their meager late salaries bribes as noted by (Fox and Murray, 2014). (Chiri, 2014) also cited that water disconnection team accepting bribes to cushion their paltry wages from defaulting residents by not disconnecting water. Therefore local authorities are losing revenue as result of high levels of corruption.
Residents are now protesting against local authorities as a result of alleged corruption and mismanagement of funds, thus resulting in the residents defaulting from paying their rates. This was supported by (Thomas, 2016) as he said, “we have not seen serious effort by local authorities to deal with allegation of fraud and mismanagement and for us to continue funding such a council will be unfair to our conscience”. This deliberate defaulting action by residents results in local authorities generating less revenue (Fox and Murray, 2014). Therefore noncompliance from defaulting ratepayers is very high because local Authorities lack enforceable penalty mechanism to ensure compliance from residents and deterrence of repeat offenders according to the minutes of the recent held Annual General Meeting by full council (2016).
The current economic hardship has left many industries with McGregor’s theory X class of workers. Theory X assumes people dislike work, lack ambition, acts irresponsibly, are resistant to change as noted by (John R, Schermerhorn Jr, 2010). This group of workers is highly motivated by financial benefits and these are lacking in this current economic armageddon, hence low morale, poor integrity and performance. This however, has a negative implication on the efficiency of local authorities especially on service provision and revenue collection. Employees’ performance, effort, integrity and motivation is the vibrant local authorities bedrock for social public administration and development as considered by Vrooms expectancy theory (Jonathan, 2014). City of Harare actually owes about 6 months salaries to its employees, hence poor performance and poor strategy implementation thus resulting in inefficiencies in the implementation of revenue collection strategies that are put in place by the authority. (Liefde, 2014) stated that organizations operates with the composure of employees satisfaction who create a direct impact on customer satisfaction.
Ratepayers have become reluctant to pay their rates and bills due to the introduction bond notes by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Residents decided to hold on to the little savings of foreign currency and reduced spending habits including paying their rates. (Makaha, 2017) said, “Individuals and firms have lost trust in the financial system due to bank failures. In a normal economy, speculative tendencies drive people to either save or invest but the situation is different in Zimbabwe. The speculative motive in Zimbabwe is largely driven by fear of a return to the Zimbabwe dollar. This can be argued as the reason why people have preferred to hold on to their money rather than using the financial system”. This has led to local authorities collecting less revenue than the expected revenue.
Effective revenue collection enhancement strategies are vital in ensuring the financial sustainability of Harare city council and the provision of quality services. Urgent need to identify, critically appraise and analyse the current revenue collection strategies so as to improve areas that are lagging, in order to achieve the intended objectives of radically transforming the Council and improve service delivery so as to achieve the objective and vision of attaining a World Class City Status by year 2025.
1.2. Statement of the problem
Cash crisis has triggered enough confusion that has led to most workers under the local authorities to dumb their integrity and become corrupt. Poor performance has also led to inefficiency in the revenue collection as most workers are demotivated and crying foul of not getting their salaries. This has led to the loss of income for local authorities as their employees get their pockets fat at their expenses hence budget shrinkages later resulting in poor service delivery. This has resulted in ratepayers defaulting from paying their levies as they argue that they cannot pay for shoddy services which are below standard.
1.3.0. Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to try and find ways in which local authorities can improve financial sustainability through the improvement of revenue collection strategies.
1.3.1. Specific Research objectives
1. To investigate sources that contributes revenue for local Authorities.
2. To identify ways to minimize revenue collection leakages so as to reduce variances in revenue collection.
3. Identifying factors which will strengthen revenue collection for local Authorities.
4. To examine revenue collection by other countries local Authorities.
1.3.2. Main Research Question
How can revenue collection be improved to sustain Local authorities financially?
1.3.3. Sub Research questions
1. What are the sources of revenue and challenges that are being faced by Local Authorities?
2. What are the factors that are leading to increased gap between budgeted revenue collection and actual revenue collected?
3. What are the major existing revenue collection strategies for City of Harare?
4. How other countries’ local Authorities collect revenue?
1.4. Significance of the study
The findings from this study are expected to benefit various categories or strata of people as follows:
1. Researcher: The study will be of paramount important to the researcher, as it will assist him to acquire more skills in research methodology and data analysis.
2. Institution: The University can use the research proposal as literature for related topics and the study will provide relevant information to fellow students on the effects of public sector in finance department on service delivery. The study will help to equip other University student who use the library for further research and enhance the image of the University after completion of the research.
3. Academicians: The study will be of relevance to academicians and researchers in revenue collection strategies as the research will enable to examine the impact of revenue collection strategies on financial sustainability and service delivery in Local Authorities.
4. City of Harare: The study will help City of Harare to grasp fully the effectiveness and efficiency of their revenue generation techniques for financial sustainability.
5. Local Authorities: The research will assist Local authorities to drill effective ways of collecting revenue and find solutions to why ratepayers are defaulting in their rate payments.
6. Administrators: The research will assist administrators to recognize the strong correlation between revenue collection and service delivery in Local Governments. They will ensure that the generated revenue is effectively collected and leakages are minimized to ensure better service delivery to the community.
1.5. Delimitations of the study
The research focused on one of the country’s largest local authority that is City of Harare. The research was concerned with revenue collection strategies employed by City of Harare to improve the revenue collection. Therefore City of Harare employees and the residents were targeted for the research. Further research on reports and other relevant documents was accessed at the city of Harare website and the whole research was conducted at the headquarters Rowan Martin Building.
1.6. Limitations of the study
1. Lack of corporation in administration of questionnaires hence the researcher had to use face to face interviews or phone interviews where necessary.
2. The study was not taken to the fullest since the money available would not allow the researcher to go around all the areas of Greater Harare, hence the researcher tried to seek for some help to increase funding from friends and relatives so as to enable progress of the research.
3. Confidentiality has been a barrier to the researcher to have access to all organisational financial records that are necessary for the research. The organization is under massive audit hence limited the researcher from being awarded expected information.
1.7. Research assumption
1. The selected participants cooperated positively and answered honestly.
2. Respondents had practical knowledge on effective and efficient revenue collection strategies
3. The researcher was well acquainted with relevant information necessary for the study and information collected from the targeted population was precise, less bias, complete and reliable.
4. The selected sample size was a reflection of the whole population.
1.8.0. Literature Review
This examined the available literature on the topic regarding financial constraint in many local authorities on inadequate revenue collection. Widespread of revenue leakages has affected Local Authorities revenue mobilization. Writers see differently the variables which determine consistence reaction by ratepayers with respect to service charges in the Local Authorities and their service delivery expectations. This study reviewed literature on local revenue, the sources, revenue collection, revenue leakages and reasons for ineffective revenue collection as well as the strategies used by Harare City Council to collect revenue from ratepayers. This study furthermore explored the revenue collection strategies and policies that are implemented by other countries especially developed countries and countries that have successful revenue collection strategies.
1.8.1. Revenue collection Leakages
Inaccurate and incorrect billing, dishonest among the officials, dissatisfied workers and poor service delivery as well as poor management of infrastructures that provides revenue to the authorities have been the major catalysts of revenue leakages.
Inaccurate billing results in invoices being charged in the customer account not reflecting the actual figures for the service rendered hence resulting in residents not willing to pay for the service cited by (Schoburghet al 2016).
Payment informality and corruption has been referred as process where individuals lost their integrity and ethical values by being involved in a bribery situation thereby cheating the system (Tamina, 2015).
The other reasons for revenue leakages are high demotivated workers, non-compliance by ratepayers, poor management of debt and infrastructures which generate revenue and others. These are discussed in detail in the project.
1.8.2. Local Government Own Revenue Instruments
Local government revenue instruments is composed of own source principal revenues such as property tax, user charges, and development levy and business licenses. Slack (2011) cited that revenue instruments are expected to achieve growth, stability and equity. High quality revenue instruments should generate income in a reliable manner namely stable and sufficient (Beecher and Chestnust, (2012). According to Fjeldstad and Heggstad (2012) qualities of local revenue should be sufficient enough cover the cost of delivering a service and infrastructural development and minimise compliance cost by residents or taxpayers
1.8.3. Revenue Collection Strategies
Revenue collection begins early in the billing process when the consumer applies for service, meter reading is captured and processing of consolidated accounts not when the debtor defaults according to (Plummer, 2013). Revenue collection strategies include outsourcing which has been described as a process of appointing private firm of professional debt collectors to collect all amount owed by defaulting residents on behalf of municipalities referred to as full outsourcing approach as cited by (Newman,2014) . Enforcement instruments are another strategy and these include overdue notices, cutoff notices, final legal demand, warrants of execution and sale of execution. Also included are payment plans and this is an arrangement that is both favorable to municipalities and defaulting ratepayers giving them a platform to negotiate certain installment figure over period of time specified by the agreement (Maeda,2010). Most of the strategies are discussed in full in chapter two of the project.
1.8.4. Other Countries Revenue Collection
The writer took a peep into other countries revenue collection strategies. The writer looked into countries like Tanzania and how it decentralized activities of local authorities from government administration. Fjeldstad and Heggstad(2012) stated that in Tanzania local government systems are decentralized by being separated from central government and assumes autonomy in several range of local services namely health services, local roads maintenance, primary education and community development. Furthermore, this looked into the strategies being implemented and how efficient they are in revenue collection. The study also put countries like Afghanistan, South Africa, Malawi and Ghana on the spotlight.
1.9 Research Methodology
A descriptive research design was used by the researcher. Farquhar (2012) cited the purpose of selecting descriptive research design is that it grants the researcher time to gather data qualitative manner making use of research instruments like questionnaires.
The total population for this study was seventy-one (71) and will comprises of eligible forty-one (41) employees involved in revenue generation from cash control section and credit control section, due to time and cost the researcher also considered an estimate of thirty (30) local customers who are the ratepayers only from different density or class.
The researcher used probability sampling technique and non-probability sampling technique so as to come up with appropriate sample size drawn from the targeted population (Duduvskiy,2016). The researcher also used stratified and convenience sampling techniques and these are discussed in the project. The researcher used structured questionnaires as a research instrument
1.10. Data Presentation
Data presentation is the manner data appears or is arranged on paper, picture and diagrams (Creswell,2013). The researcher used visual presentation to present results of the analyzed data through use of bar graphs, tables and textual form. Graphs, tables, bar graphs are a simple way that can be used to present condensed data in a readily understandable form (George et al,2012). This is also a very effective way to present data because it manages to communicate the information in an understandable manner to those people who have no taste for Figures. The researcher further presented the data in a textual form that helps to emphasis relevant points using the percentages, proportions and comparative data (Giovanni, 2015). Visual presentation is highly impressive, persuasive and without use of jargons and formulas is easily understood (Creswell, 2013).The level of agreement was measured by applying Likert scale to the overall measure within the study.
This study is meant to assess the weakness in the revenue collection strategies by City of Harare, and come up with possible solutions to strengthen these existing strategies as well as recommending new strategies that can be implemented so as to ensure financial sustainability within the authority. Moreover, to find ways in which revenue leakages can be reduced to minimal level.
The main purpose of this chapter is to examine the literature on the widespread of revenue leakages that are affecting local authorities’ revenue collection, the revenue collection instruments used by the City of Harare as well as to get to examine the revenue collection strategies that it uses. The literature also covers revenue collection strategies of other countries.
2.1.0. Revenue collection leakages
Leakages have dealt a major blow to the revenue of municipalities. Their negative impact is greatly felt as revenue continuously dwindles. These leakages are driven by poor revenue management, poor infrastructure management, highly demotivated workers, noncompliance by ratepayers, corruption as well as inaccurate and incorrect billing systems.
2.1.1. Poor infrastructure and revenue management
Local authorities own a number of revenue generating infrastructure which includes commuter omnibus ranks, beer halls, community halls and market places. In normal circumstances these are supposed to be adding a small chunk to the revenue of local authorities but rather they are turning out to be deserted places where kids play hide and seek. Those functioning ones are politically controlled to such an extent that the local authorities get nothing from them. This therefore implies that the local authorities’ loses revenue. Gone are the days where community halls where wedding venues, cinemas as well as conference venues, this is a result of poor management as little or no renovations and refurbishment are done so as to meet up with the modern designs and standard hence resulting in loss of potential revenue.
Illegal commuter ranks has rocked the streets of various cities substituting designated commuter ranking places. Some argue that the ranks are so small so no parking will be available given the rate at which the transport sector has been growing. To some this is an opportunity to evade paying for rank discs and this result in revenue leakage as the authorities are unable to collect potential revenue. This was supported by councilors in the audit committee (2016), as they argued that kombis will continue evading payments of rank discs as the city does not have controlled ranks.
Water provision is one of the major existence of the local authorities, a fortune is invested in the provision of treated water. However, this usually turns out to be a waste as water is lost due to pipe burst and probably faulty meters. H.Chisango (2017) said “over two thirds of purified water was being lost before reaching its destination as a result of ageing pipes and water meters”. This shows that infrastructure is lacking adequate attention required hence resulting in loss of revenue through the loss of treated water.
Poor revenue management has also led to a noticeable revenue leakage. This has been evidenced by misplaced priorities by local authorities. Instead of dedicating a greater potion the resources to the production of quality service they rather opt for lucrative salaries for their executive workers. This was raised by residents 2016 as they argued that Harare City Council was failing to provide key services such as clean water yet management was pocketing large sums of salaries and allowances. They furthermore argued that the council cannot afford luxuries such as awarding holiday allowances given the current state of poor service delivery. Given the little revenue the authorities might have collected, such spending habits and dilemmas can cripple the authorities severely.
2.1.2. Corruption, nepotism and payment informalities
Corruption by definition is the misuse of entrusted power for private gain. It can also be defined as a process where individuals lose their integrity and ethical values by being involved in a bribery situation thereby cheating the system (Tamina, 2015). This has been part of the dishonesty by officers in collecting revenue by printing fictitious receipts hence pocket the money instead of having revenue flowing to the council (Ebogbany and Jaafuru, 2013).
Meter readers often accept bribes so that meter digits recorded are as low as possible hence resulting in lower revenue for the council. This is also the case with water disconnection team, they accept bribes and as a result will end up with fat pockets at the expense of the council. Ebogbany and Jaafuru (2013) in Tanzania statistics indicated that most of the revenue collectors accept bribes instead of disconnecting water and clamping vehicles illegally parked hence pocked the same money that is supposed to have been recorded in the municipalities’ coffers.
Similarly, planners and health inspectors are in the train of bribe acceptance so that they inspect with leniency. Poor administration in supervision and monitoring all Harare City Council’s operations results in free path to pocket cash for processing building plans, building and health inspection hence none is recorded in the books to account the activities performed. These corrupt tendencies by officials result in a huge loss of revenue by local authorities and hinder effective service delivery to the community (Auditor General, 2014).
Corruption and nepotism has also rocked the human resource divisions, relatives and friends are given jobs without any formality being followed and this result in poor service provision by local authorities. Mlilo (2015) stipulated that the ministry has discovered thousands of unqualified personnel who were corruptly employed in councils across the country. He furthermore stated that such practices have contributed to the deterioration of service delivery in most local authorities. It does just end there, it take a step further the creation of ghost employees who are never at work. This means that officials will just fatten their pocket with the so called proclaimed salaries.
Council officer have also been involved in fake business licenses, parking disks and rank discs scandals. This was a way of earning extra dimes at the expense of the council itself. This was stated by the acting town clerk J.Ncube (2016) as she said that there is need to deal with the production of fake discs which are milking the city of its deserved money.
2.1.3. Incorrect and inaccurate billing systems
Inaccurate billing data is caused by poor conditions of meters, large proportion of estimated readings and absence of quality control meter reading and updated zoning measurements not being revalued (Kim et al 2013). Undercharging obviously will result in the authorities getting less of what they are supposed to get and on the other hand overcharging will result in the ratepayers becoming reluctant to pay as they argue that it is not a true reflection of the services provided hence the council will lose money as well. Consequently public confidence in terms of the billing system dwindled, communities were unwilling to pay for the bills issued and as such debt accumulated and the municipalities could not recover the debt (G.P.Mazibuko, 2013). This clearly results in the loss of revenue by local authorities.
2.1.4. Demotivated employees
According to Henry Fayol’s fourteen principles of management that describes motivation as a happy state of mind which drives workers in action and encourage them to put their maximum services (Drucker, 2012). Konlan (2015) cited that revenue mobilization is affected by symptoms such as unpaid employees’ salary arrears, failure to equip them with safety nets as there are compelled to incur all losses associated with theft and assaults by ratepayers causing them to under report and accept bribes. Salary owing to employees is always the song of the day in the local authorities. This therefore demotivates employees and consequently results in industrial actions which disrupt service provision and loss of potential revenue by local authorities. According to residents (2015) staff at Edith Opperman council clinic in Mbare downed their tools pressing for payment of salaries owed to them for the past three months and patients who were desperately in need of attention were turned away by nurses who did not mince their words and told them that they had not been paid and could therefore not help them.
2.1.5. Noncompliance by ratepayers
Residents have always argued that services which are rendered to them by the local authorities are substandard. So they always argue that why pay for shoddy services such as unsafe to drink water, months of uncollected refuse as well as burst sewer pipes all over high destiny suburbs. It is very sad that council has to be compelled by threats so that they remove garbage, burst sewer pipes in suburbs takes days to be attended to hence exposing residents to all sort of health risks (Rusike, 2017). Our claim that the water is chemically safe to drink will not hold if residents cannot stand the sight of frothing or foaming colored water (Clr B.Manyenyeni, 2017). With this in mind the residents are not complying with the bills sent to them since they feel that they are being short changed by the local authorities.
Some residents are willing to settle their bills on time but given the level of poverty that is terrorizing our native country due to high levels of unemployment. This has resulted in most residents not being able to afford a normal bread basket hence implying that no extras are left to pay for their rates. This was also highlighted by Liefde (2014) as he stated that residents are aware of their rates paying obligation and are willing to pay in time but due to economic hardships, many are unemployed. This was further worsened by the introduction of the bond note which later gave birth to a massive cash crisis hence a poverty amidst plenty situation resulting in residents not being able to settle their bills. This has a negative impact on the revenue of local authorities as their revenue fall dismally.
Conclusively revenue leakages have greatly led to financial unsustainability by local authorities as they lose revenue and potential revenue. Corruption and poor management has been to a larger extent the root of all this turmoil in the revenue collection of local authorities and hence a painful blow to the financial sustainability of local authorities.
2.2.0. Local authorities’ own revenue instruments
High quality revenue instruments should generate income in a reliable manner namely stable and sufficient (Beecher and Chestnust, 2012). Property taxes, user charges, business licenses as well as development levies are local authorities’ main revenue collection instruments which they heavily rely on.
2.2.1. Property taxies
Property tax is a charge levied on land, residential stands and commercial stands based on property owned by households and enterprises within their jurisdiction (Bahl and Linn, 2013). Under the urban council act chapter 29:15 of Zimbabwe, councils are obliged to charge levies to all residential property and industrial stands within their jurisdictions that are ratable. It further detailed that land values and property improvements are key mechanism through which Zimbabwe councils can generate long term revenue. However, municipalities lack the skilled valuators and there is also lack of properly maintained property registers hence this hinders them to constantly update land value tariffs thus missing the opportunity for increasing revenue collection. Slack (2011) cited that economists favored property tax as a good tax for local authorities because it is considered fair in relation to benefits derived from services provided by municipalities to local services like schools hospitals and access to roads. However, property tax on capital affects housing market and discourages building that result in underutilization of land since it is based on the market value of land and improvements (Bel, 2011). This would greatly boost the revenue generation of Harare city council but however in this era of liquidity crisis it will be difficult for those households with high value real estate but earn low income as they will not be able to pay their taxes.
2.2.2. User charges
A user charge is one of the most effective instruments of generating revenue by municipalities. It can be regarded as a form of payment for the use of resources, infrastructure and services and which are similar to market prices for private goods. Sansom and Mckinlay (2013) cited that user charges financing is the most fundamental with respect to utility enterprise as water system which encompasses some local authorities’ activities such as refuse removal, sewage disposal and provisional of recreational facilities. Ratepayers argue that public services like user charges should be provided for free. However, according to Farvcque-Vitkovic and Kopanyi (2014) prices charged for the services limit overconsumption of scarce public resources in attaining main goal of local government not to generate revenue for profit but to promote economic efficiency.
2.2.3. Development levy
Harare city council statement bill or consolidated accounts consider development levy as supplementary levy used for local infrastructural developments. Khadka and Rup (2015) defined development levy as a charge imposed on local citizens by the local authorities to enhance community infrastructural development in the form of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure for community development. In a full council meeting minutes (January 2017) the council vouched for decentralization of districts and every district has been given autonomy to develop their own roads, schools and clinics, this shall be based on every district’s commitment to settle their bills. The minutes furthermore suggested that twenty five percent of the revenue collected at each district shall be allocated towards development of schools, roads, bridges and other developments locally. This was cited by Devas et al (2012) as he viewed decentralization of districts having an influence towards a fair and equitable distribution of national cake since it will be based on the commitment of the community to pay and improve their locations in terms of developments.
2.2.4. Business licenses
Business license fees are charges levied on motor vehicles, shops and liquor licenses which have an ending period of quarterly or annually depending on the type of license and are renewable ate the expiring period (Plummer, 2013). Fjeldstad and Heggstad (2012) stated that business tax licenses are levied using the type, size or geographical location of the enterprise at a fixed amount. According to Devas (2012) other category used to levy business license are percentage of the turnover earned or profit earned by business through assessing turnover and profitability. However, this is a complex category to use since some small to medium enterprises which do not return and maintain proper accounting records. Citizens argue that the process of obtaining business licenses is tiresome as it involves visiting multiple offices for several days hence incurring additional costs through transport costs. This therefore has been the highest huddle that most citizens are unwilling to jump and should be improved so that the process can be made easier so as to encourage voluntary business registration, license renewal as well as proper maintenance of the books of accounts.
Conclusively user charges contribute a larger percentage portion of the City of Harare’s revenue. Property tax and development levies are also reliable revenue generating drivers for the council since it is charged on immovable and are easy to trace as compared to business license fees which are mobile and the revenue depends on going concern of the business itself.
2.3.0. Revenue collection strategies
Revenue collection involves the execution of duties or functions to collect outstanding income of local authorities not yet paid by customers, (Plummer, 2013). According to Plummer (2013) revenue collection begins early in the billing process when the consumer applies for services, meter reading is captured and the processing of consolidated accounts not when the debtor defaults. This therefore creates a principle which links service payment to service provision, which drives a major challenge if the relationship of the two does not perform well.
2.3.1. Revenue Outsourcing
Revenue outsourcing strategies is a process of appointing private firm of professional debt collectors to collect all amount owed by the defaulting residents on behalf of the municipalities referred to as full outsourcing approach (Newman, 2014). City of Harare outsourced the revenue collection to Well Cash Debt collectors Pvt Ltd. Effective revenue outsourcing increases revenue collection for local authorities and also easing administrative problems with the revenue collection and reducing administration cost (Newman, 2014). Moreover an effective revenue outsourcing reduces corruption tendencies by local authorities and reduces payment informalities. However, there is risk of corruption by private revenue collector agents hence need to include penalties for poor performances, target setting and strong monitoring to reduce such tendencies.
184.108.40.206. Enforcement Instruments
220.127.116.11. Overdue notice
It is described as a reminder creditor sends to the debtor that brings awareness about the account that has become overdue and payment is required (Bullivant, 2016). Debt collecting agents either make a call from office to notify the customer about the overdue arrear, encourage them to honor up so that they do not bury their heads in the sand through visiting council offices and make any arrangements to pay up the outstanding amount (Wesbrooks, 2014). According to Estreicher and Radice (2016) the agent may visit the debtors’ physical address and hand over the notice statement to the debtor and with some private collectors, debtor is required to obtain a signature to confirm the receipt of the notice.
18.104.22.168. Cut off notice
Fowker (2016) describes it as a warning for a service disconnection if the customer does not respond to the warning by the means of payment arrangement. This is a wakeup call to the debtor that payment is urgently required and failure to respond to the cut off notice will result in service disconnection or water disconnection (Boyd, 2016).
22.214.171.124. Final legal demand
It is a notice to alert the customer that the account has become due and payment is expected (Latimer, 2012). According to Lucas (2012) it is a warning that provides a debtor with a chance to make payments towards the outstanding balance and avoiding consuming time and money associated with legal proceedings. The letter of demand clearly gives a debtor period of seven days to respond to the notice in the form of payment or negotiating for a payment plan arrangement. Noncompliance to the letter of demand for the outstanding service arrear council will restrict or disconnect the service. This furthermore adds a burden to the debtors account since the cost of processing is debited to increase the bill.
According to Cummingham-Hill (2016) it is a typical notice received by an individual who has failed to make a payment for services or debt to a company because of defaulted payment. Once a court summon is issued the individual in debt appears before a judge. Garnish summons are issued to debtors bank account so that the outstanding balance will automatically be deducted on the debtor earning income or wages. Processing summons involves costs incurring and the burden of those court fees are debited in the debtors account and the extra cost forces residents to comply toward paying their bills hence increase revenue collection (Bullivant, 2016). In Ghana 80% of revenue is collected after the issue of summons by municipalities, people are afraid of the court process and avoid prosecution (United Nation, 2012). .
126.96.36.199. Payment Plans
Maeda (2010) defined payment plans as an arrangement that is both favorable to municipalities and defaulting ratepayers giving them a platform to negotiate certain installments figure over period of time specified by the agreement. According to Latimer (2012) researcher in relation to case of the company under study, state that payment plans are stretched up to maximum of 3 months, an arrangement for settling outstanding debt and future debt between the municipalities and residents is reached. This is to avoid legal action taken against them. This strategy has contributed to 70% revenue being collected from defaulting residents according minutes of the Revenue Advancement Meeting recently held (December, 2016). Maeda (2010) continued to describe that customers are obliged to put down a signature on the paper and consent with terms of the agreement explained and have the outstanding arrears parked in a suspended account that does not increment interest or penalties if the customer honors the contract agreement. This agreement significantly increases the revenue collection if they are no breach of the agreement.
188.8.131.52. Service disconnection
Devas et al (2012) reveals that for municipalities to stimulate payment encouragement, municipalities should engage in water disconnection or disconnecting of services as this will compel people to comply. Ray (2016) cited the value of water to human beings as water is a fundamental need and survival of people depends on water hence indirectly force people to pay for the service and commit to their arrears. Devas et al (2012) mentioned that water supply is restricted via flow restrictor washer and disconnection penalty fee is raised on all accounts printed for disconnection forcing defaulters to commit to their outstanding arrear amounts plus other additional charges in full for water reconnection.
Illegal water connections may be a major challenge towards municipalities having defaulting residents not paying their bills hence projected revenue from water disconnection may not be collected (Mikesell,2016). Response to the challenge had indicated that a system of follow ups and spot checks on all water disconnected places should be put in place to ensure that no illegal water connection being attempted. If there is attempt on illegal water connection council may take further action of removing meter reader and water supply pipes and take legal action against defaulting residents if no revenue has been recovered (Schoburgh et al, 2016).
184.108.40.206. Interest and Fines
Ryan (2011) defined Interest and fines as charges raised on arrears which appear on the accounts and accrue 21 or 30days from the days due date passes. Rainey (2013) identified application of fines and interest for late payment at a punitive rate so as to deter late payments by ratepayers. Bak (2016) described Fine and interest as a source to generate additional revenue for local authorities; this is an enforcement that creates extra cost to ratepayers account bill indirectly forcing voluntary compliance from them, to avoid a tight burden of being charged interest and fines resulting in early payments before the due date. Higher interest and fine charges is an instrument to encourage taxpayers’ voluntary compliance towards rates payment. Brauner and Stewart (2013) debated on the impact of interest saying that additional cost may continue to accumulate and non-compliance from the residents may continue to exist. Citizens may be struggling to service the current debt and may need time to pay their debts, additional interest cost may deter them from exerting effort to pay the debts. According to Liebert et al (2013) charging interest on overdue accounts discourages compliance from ratepayers, especial clients who owe council huge amount. This is forcing them to develop an l don’t care attitude. Liebert et al(2013)suggest that a consideration of a holistic appraisal and consideration of a customers’ finance challenges and provide arrangements for those who genuinely need time to pay their debts may encourage customers voluntary compliance and raise revenue for Local authorities.
In a nutshell all these strategies are relevant to force taxpayer to comply to council laws and regulations and pay for the service .On a higher note effective administration towards service delivery is a major factor to lure voluntary compliance from ratepayers because of the benefit principle that links service provision to payment.
2.4.0. Other Countries Revenue Collection
In Tanzania local government systems are decentralize by being separated from central government and assume autonomy in several ranges of local services namely health services, local roads maintenance, primary education and community development (Fjeldstad and Heggstad, 2012). According to Controller and Auditor General (2012) Tanzania Local Authorities inability to collect revenue has been caused by poor administration capacity to collect tax, political pressure and poor coordination and supervision. Immediate measure was implemented to modify the tax structure and build effective administration capacity to collect revenue (Mzenzi, 2013). According to Comrie (2013) revenue sources has been privatized to a private collector, these sources such as property tax, forestry levies market fees and parking fees in different councils of Tanzania namely Mwanza council, Ilala council ,Kilosa council and Temeke council.
According to Controller and Auditor General (2012) Tanzanian local government revenue collection system was linked to Geographical Information system (GIS), which was designed to assist the revenue collection for local authorities. The GIS was merged with a customized ITax solution which is computerized accounting system for computing all rates and storing relevant credit or debit data accounts. According to Comrie (2013) it helps in monitoring and controlling all transaction made by cities to pay taxes. ITax solutions improved Tanzanian tax collection system by sending or issuing reminders and demanding compliance from taxpayers that helps to minimise their administrative collection cost and it is efficient and convenient (Mzenzi,2013). The itax solution has the capability to assess tax, billing and enforcing so as to improve revenue collection. The system was applied in five urban councils namely Mtwara DC, Bunda DC, Kinondoni MC, Mtwara and Tanga CC since 2013 (Mzenzi, 2013).
According to Boon et al (2011) Afghanistan revenue reported was not sufficient enough hence creating financial problems to Kabul municipality which was losing revenue as half of it yearly revenue went uncollected. Afghanistan region collected half (50%) of the actual annual revenue of $4 billion. Hanifi (2011) cited that revenue sources Afghanistan dwells much on are property rentals, property tax, clearance fees, business licenses, disposal of land, parking fees and amusement parks. Kabul municipality is reported to have capacity to reach $10 billion annually if they resolve the problems of poor management system, corrupt activities affecting the amount of revenue collected and lack of transparency (Jahanmal, 2015).
Brand (2016) discovered a main administrative problem of many municipalities in the world is their inability to collect revenue causing a significant gap between revenue projected and reported revenue. The challenges are linked to the strategies employed in collecting the revenue. According to Cole (2014) in South African local authorities inefficient revenue collection is caused by incorrect and inaccurate billing. Cole (2014) cited that residents in South African were disgruntled with inaccurate bills issued to them and caused a dwindling in the citizens interest in terms of bills became reluctant to pay council bills resulting in a debt accumulation which the South African Local Authorities failed to recover. Local Authorities need to improve the efficiency of service charged, collection strategies and the billing system so as to link the residents’ income cycle with paying capacity of citizens (Big Result Now, 2012).
According to Scott and Alam (2011) in Malawi they generate local revenue from several sources such as property tax fees and license, service charges and ground rent. Malawi local municipalities failed to perform well in producing sufficient revenue due to weak administration, weak revenue enforcement mechanism and incomplete revenue data base. Measure considered by Malawi local government were to effectively promote enforcement mechanism undertaken against noncompliance and capturing of all respective business and properties in their respective registers (Un-habitant, 2013).The local authorities in Malawi further ensured that businesses are classified properly and all tax levies and business fees are continuously monitored so as to improve revenue generation. Un-habitant (2013) Malawi local government promoted education to those involved in revenue collection by giving them education incentives. This was introduced to help in convincing taxpayers to pay by receiving improved services and persuade them that their fees and levies are being administered fairly. According to Scott and Alam (2011) local councils in Malawi adopted the principle that first priority was to render quality service because citizens are willing to pay taxes and fees in receipt of some tangible services or benefits.
According to Fosu and Ashiagbor (2012) Ghana revenue collection centered more on the business licenses and property tax which contribute substantial percentage to the total revenue collected by the Local Authorities in Ghana. Konlan (2015) cited that Ghana Local Authorities billing and collection efforts failed to provide the expected service delivery by the local citizens despite the efforts of privatizing the revenue collection to private debt collectors. This was being caused by inadequate data collection on different economic activities such as seamstresses, lotto kiosk, misclassification of properties and businesses and lack of tax assessment basis. Schoburgh et al (2016) reviewed other reasons such like officers who collect revenue where not remitting to the assembly all monies collected and due to the failure of not having mechanism to track taxpayers, property owners avoids paying property tax including some small scale enterprises operating within the economy. Ghana local authorities are lacking realistic ways of accessing untapped revenue potentials being caused by lack of sufficient and accurate data. According to Apter (2015) in addressing the challenges, Ghana local government made an effort to address the problem being faced by local authorities by introducing an integrated Geographic Information System (GIS) revenue mobilization tools that generate realistic data on the revenue potentials that are likely to be collected by Local Authorities within Ghana and revenue collection process was automatically designed.
This chapter looked at various literatures in trying to explain how effective the strategies used by local authorities in collecting revenue are in assisting organisation financial to improve service delivery. This literature helps in answering the research questions. A summary can be derived that many authors concur with the establishment of a relationship that link revenue collection with service delivery.
The research methodology is an art or strategy of data collection that the researcher used in designing an approach to solve the research problem. It can also be termed as a process used to collect information and data for the purpose of making decisions. It enabled the researcher to organize his effort into one collusive and conceptual idea generation.
3.1. Research Design
Research design is an overall master plan strategy that specifically integrate various techniques and procedures involved in data gathering and analysis relevant to the phenomenon under study (Hakim,2012). The core fundamental reason for using research design is to coherently and logically facilitate the researcher to effectively plan and address the research problem.
3.1.1. Descriptive design
The descriptive research design approach is used in attempt to procure complete and exact description of the situation (Hamilton, 2012).Yin (2013) also cited that, ‘descriptive research enfolds a massive proportion of marketing research, and the aim being to provide a precise and accurate snapshot of the phenomenon. The purpose of selecting descriptive research design is that it grants the researcher time to gather data qualitative manner making use of research instruments like personal interviews and questionnaires (Farquhar, 2012). The researcher was able to accumulate data based on distinct opinions, behavior, attitudes and practices from employees and customers to create the full picture of the current status of the phenomenon. It also enabled the researcher to illustrate and analyse data in a statistical manner in the form tables, graphs and charts and textual form (Goodwin, 2012).The objective of descriptive research design was to improve accuracy and reduce systematic error so as to assist the researcher interpretation of the current condition and collaborate the relation between the information on the ground and knowledge held by the researcher through literature. This enabled the researcher to identify the missing information and expand the understanding of the phenomenon, helping in shaping the policies and initiative to improve revenue collection (Farquhar, 2012).
According to Weeks (2011) population is a group of individuals who have one or more similar relationships that are common to the researcher representative sample selection criteria. The total population for this study is seventy-one (71) and comprises of eligible forty-one (41) employees involved in revenue generation from cash control section and credit control section, due to time and cost the researcher also considered an estimate of thirty (30) local customers who are the ratepayers only from different density or class. The targeted was considered to award the researcher relevant data relating the poor revenue collection, its resulting effect to the organisational operating performance and the strategies implemented to resolve the challenge (Farquhar, 2012). The target population for the study is illustrated below on table 1
The employees are well versed with the knowledge of how revenue is collected, the sources and strategies used in collecting the revenue. Ratepayers were involved in the sample because they possess attributes that largely determines amount of revenue to be generated.
Table 1: Target Population
Cash Control Section
Rates and Fees Section
Credit Control Section
According to Daniel (2011) sampling is referred as an act or technique of selecting a representative group of population from a larger group to determine the parameters for estimating fact or predicting results regarding the large group. The researcher used probability sampling technique and non-probability sampling technique in coming up with appropriate sample size drawn from the targeted population (Duduvskiy, 2016), which are illustrated below.
3.2.1 Stratified Sampling
According to Dwyer (2012) member in the targeted population are entitled to equal chance of selection. There researcher used stratified random sampling technique which divided population into mutually exclusive sub groups or strata according to relevant attributes since there was no defined sample frame (Singh, 2013).The researcher divided the targeted population into the following groups credit control section, rates and fees section, cash control section and ratepayers. The segments enabled the researcher to come up with the appropriate and reliable sampling method to gather data ensuring greater level of representation of the population in the study. After the strata were established, convenient sampling was employed to draw sample units from each respective stratum.
3.2.2 Convenience sampling
Emmel (2013) defined convenience sampling as the selection of participants who are available wiling and easy to access them with minimal effort in attempt to represent the general segment. This method was used because of the likenesses in the participants’ functions in their segment. The researcher had to first consider residents from different classes’ high density, middle density and low density so as to get opinions that are representative of the whole ratepayers’ population. The researcher further selected participant from credit control, rates and fees and cash control. The researcher adopted this technique because it is quicker and easier to implement and does not necessitate exhaustive work and resource demands (Creswell, 2013).
3.3 Data collection procedure
The researcher sought permission from respondents before issuing questionnaires to them to complete , to ensure ethical principles of the research findings are observed (Daniel, 2011).the researcher ensured participants confidentiality of information that they shared and that it would not be exposed in any ways that may cause discomfort to the participants in the study. Finally on a closing note the researcher informed respondents that participation in the research was voluntary (Saris, 2014).
3.4 Primary Sources of Data
According to Kara and Helen (2013) primary source of data is the first hand testimony that involves any eye witness in creating historical document. The extraction of primary data in the Harare City Council was accomplished through the use of structured questionnaires (Dwyer et al, 2012). The researcher dwelled more on primary data because it gave him the remote to control accuracy of the data gathered and directed the relevance of the research phenomenon (Saris, 2014).The data obtained was of value to the researcher being valid and directly relevant to the research problem, since the researcher obtained original data not tampered with or manipulated that was current and made an balanced view to the research problem.
The researcher observed ethical principles of research by requesting permission from the city of Harare management to investigate his research study. The credibility of primary sources of data was observed to be useful and directly relevant to the particular research at hand. Goodwin (2012) asserts that data was captured at the point where it is generated, this enabled the researcher to identify and deal with the problem without facing any other challenges of second hand information (JHA, 2014).
3.5 Research Instruments
Research instrument refers to a measuring device used for the purpose of identifying, data accumulation and evaluation of the result obtained in answering the research problem. These instruments include personal interviews and structured questionnaires. However, the researcher only used questionnaires.
According to Ekinci (2015) questionnaire is a term that includes all techniques of data collection in which each person is asked to respond to the same set of questions in a predetermined order. The researcher placed more emphasis on the questionnaires to accumulate data from employees involved in revenue collection and customers. This instrument allowed the researcher to gather data from a greater number of participants while observing uniform responses (Patton, 2014). The researcher provided ratepayer with close ended questions to save their time and avoid inconvenience to them, since it required single word answer to obtain a fact. These questionnaires for employees included both open and close ended questions. The use of open ended questionnaires enabled respondents to widen their responses in attempt to honestly and truthfully air out their opinions in the spaces allocated (Mcnabb, 2015). Closed questions allowed participants to quickly select a category or box that matches their understanding of the matter asked by a way of a tick. The way the questions were asked enabled the researcher uniformly acquire more objective responses that allowed for easier comparability of data collected (Saris,2014).
The chances of collecting unbiased data or facts was high, since the researcher notified the respondents that their private details were anonymous and assured them to respectfully treat share data confidentially and use it for the objective of undertaking the study only (Saris,2014).This assurance eliminated the fear of unknown within the participants and encouraged them to disclose data deemed to be confidential which assisted in collecting desired results for the study(Patton, 2014).
220.127.116.11 Likert scale questions
Venek (2012) defines a Likert scale used to represent a specific trait of a balanced side for both neutral opinions either satisfied or dissatisfied. The use of the Likert scale by the researcher was meant to complement the questionnaires and evaluate respondent opinions important of the score used to create a chart of distribution of opinions across the population. Balanced Likert scale on both sides was used to gather the response levels of the respondents in the questionnaires creating less biased measurement. It ranges as follows.
Strongly Agree Agree Neutral
Disagree Strongly Disagree
3.6 Secondary Sources of Data
According to Vartanian (2011) secondary data is data gathered and documented by someone else with certain objectives other than melting down the phenomenon being investigated ,namely data acquired internally for instance accounting records or externally for example local government reports and trade associates reports. Mcnabb (2015) the researcher acquired secondary sources through the use of the internet and also library books, also the data obtained proved to be authentic, more reliable and resourceful in the academic circles. The researcher found it resourceful, the use of employees’ evaluation register that assisted the researcher in making judgment selecting participants for the study.
Secondary data was generally made available to the researcher at zero cost since the use of resources was not relevant during the data gathering (Dwyer et al, 2012). It provided solutions to the research problems faced, by providing supporting relevant background documentation and literature review on the study hence generates innovative pillar for the research. The challenge of secondary data is that data was accumulated for other intended objectives hence it failed to satisfy current problem and was difficulty to assess the data accuracy including technical jargon and other symbols used.
3.7.1Validity of research instruments
Baumgarten (2013) defined it as the truthfulness of a piece of data that involves the process of collecting and analysing data to access the accuracy of the instruments used to gather data. The researcher issued the five questionnaires for testing first before it was distributed to the selected participants in the sample (Franzen,2013). The respondent was interviewed to provide clarity of the research question in attaining the objective of the study as well as an unclear element in order for the researcher to refine the quality of questionnaire and ensure its accuracy (Goodwin, 2012). . The researcher used a range of questions that included open ended and closed ended questions and understand the questions and respond correctly.
3.7.2Reliability of research instruments
Baumgarten (2013) defined reliability is the extent the instruments used to gather data consistently yield the same result on a repeated trials. The researcher considered the target sample as the most reliable source to achieve the intended results (Cohen et al 2013) .To ensure reliability of research results, the researcher used structured questions in questionnaires and that can make an independent researcher to come up with similar results, even if were to be done the second time would yield the same results (Franzen,2013).
3.8. Data Analysis
According to (Goodwin, 2012) data analysis is referred as a useful technique organized in such a way that pick up patterns and draw a logical conclusions of discovering useful information. The researcher used qualitatively and quantitatively analysis by labeling and coding all the data he gathered that enabled the identification of similarities and differences of the information in developing explanations(Creswell,2013).
Descriptive statistical analyses were applied to describe the basic features of the data in the study by giving summary about the phenomenon. It helped to simplify large amounts of data into a simple summary that enabled compassions across variables (Giovanni, 2015).Mode which is a measure of central tendency was used to represent the most used revenue collection strategy variable and how it efficiently improve revenue mobilization for instant payment plan strategy (Holcomb,2016).
3.9. Data Presentation
Data presentation is the manner data appears or arranged on paper, picture and diagrams (Creswell, 2013). The researcher used visual presentation to present results of the analysed data through use of bar graphs, pie charts, tables and textual form. Graphs, tables, bar graphs were a simple way researcher used to present condensed data in a readily understandable form (George et al, 2012). This was also very effective way to present data because it managed to communicate the information in an understandable manner to those people who have no taste for figures. The researcher further presented the data in a textual form that helped to emphasis relevant points using the percentages, proportions and comparative data (Giovanni,2015). Visual presentation was highly impressive, persuasive and without use of jargons and formulas was easily understood (Creswell,2013). The level of agreement was measured by applying Likert scale to the overall measure within the study.
3.10 Ethical Consideration
Researcher asked the informed permission from the participants to willingly be involved genuinely and share relevant information. The researcher noticed the right of the respondents to confidentiality and privacy of the data they provided (Goodwin, 2012). To assure research principles, the researcher respected confidentiality on personal details of the respondents and those involved with the sensitive information provided (Saris,2014).
The research methodology which was applied has demonstrated degree of validity. The chapter conveyed justification of the suitable methods which were employed by the researcher and the processes involved using each technique.
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION
This chapter aims on presenting and analysing the data obtained from research findings using questionnaires and complementing secondary data sources in relation to the phenomenon. The findings were conveyed using descriptive approach on the effectiveness of revenue generation strategies used by Harare city council, as it sought to identify Harare city council own revenue sources ,revenue leakages and enhancement strategies to improve revenue collection by interpreting it in line with the research objectives and the research questions. Data gathered from participants will be interpreted into meaningful, useful formats and presented in a statistical form of charts, graphs and tables.
4.1. Questionnaire response rate
The researcher disbursed sixty-two questionnaires and obtained positive response rate of (50/62) 80.65% returned questionnaires. This shows that unaccounted distributed questionnaires were (12/62) 19.35%. Among the sixty-two questionnaires 38 were administered to the revenue personnel and eight of them were returned and the response rate was 78.95% (30/38). The remaining 24 questionnaires were administered to ratepayers and response rate obtained was 83.33% (20/24). The overall response rate was 80.65% (50/62) showing a reliable response which eliminated the possibility of bias and incomplete data (Cooper and Schindler, 2014).
Table 2: Questionnaire response rate
Response Rate (%)
Source: raw data
4.2. Demographic Characteristics
Table 3: Age profile
Number of Respondents
Response Rate (%)
20 to 30
30 to 40
40 to 50
Source primary data
The above Table 3 illustrate different age range for Harare city council revenue staff who participated in the investigation findings. The findings show that Harare city revenue division is composed of a moderate age range between 40 to 50 years dominating the revenue division constituting 40% (12/30). Age range above 50 years was second age group constituting 26.67% (8/30) revenue personnel who participated and who are centre of reference when matters that require field experience arise since age comes with experience. Middle age staff at range between 30 to 40 years constitutes 20% (6/30) of the revenue personnel being the energetic age group that tend to be involved in revenue collection with partial experience. Lastly age range between 20 to 30 constitute 13.33% (4/30) who are new staff employees with less experience and yet to learn but tend to bring fresh ideas. Harare city council having old age group greater than young age group tend to be disastrous since the old aged staff have less years to service council and they are close to retirement age of 60 years hence a balance age groups should be appreciated.
4.3. Highest level of education
Figure 1: Highest level of education
Source: SPSS output
The findings revealed on Fig1 show distinct revenue staff academic levels from ordinary level to Masters. The findings deduce that 40% (12/30) occupies ordinary certificate as their highest level of education while 37% (11/30) of the respondents pursued their academic education doing Honours degree certificate. 17% (5/30) of the respondents attained advanced level after acquiring their ordinary level certificate. Only 6% (2/30) respondent within revenue division managed to equip themselves with masters’ certificate whilst none of the respondents possess doctorate certificate which is the highest self-esteem level one would aspire to reach.
The evidence above shows the revenue division personnel literate level which is dominated by ordinary level and degree level and dilution of these academic skills through effective team work maybe sufficient enough to improve revenue collection.
4.4. Professional qualifications in Finance
The graph below portrays distinct levels of qualifications in finance possessed by revenue personnel participated in the findings. These qualifications include diploma, degree, masters and professional courses. Revenue is categorised under finance thus employment of staff who all possesses distinct qualification in finance grants revenue division a positive image and also appraise the human resource for employing competent staff who are able to handle financial work diligently.
Figure 2: Qualification in Finance
Source: SPSS output
The surveyed data reveals that half of the respondents are holders of a diploma certificate in finance thus 50% (15/30) respondents. The remaining half (5/30) 16.67% respondents are degree holders in finance whilst 6.67% (2/30) are holders of a Masters in finance. The remaining 26.66% (8/ 30) participants possesses professional course such as ACCA, CIS, CIMA and other professional courses.
From the findings it can be concluded that Harare city council has enough finance skilled personnel to sufficiently increase quantum of revenue generated. More personnel are holders of diploma certificate.
4.5. Trained for Revenue Collection
The chart below illustrate whether revenue personnel were trained for the particular task or functions in revenue collection or no training was conducted.
Figure 3: Training in revenue collection
Source: SPSS output
The survey unravelled that greater proportion of revenue staffs were not trained for revenue collection constituting 60% (18/30) of the respondents. Less than half of the respondents are trained for revenue collection constituting 30% (9/30) respondents which may be significant challenge toward revenue generation by Harare city council. There was missing data which was 10% (3/30) respondents who did not complete the questionnaire.
The greater fraction of the revenue collection staff are not trained to acquire appropriate skills necessary to generate substantial percentage of revenue adequate to financially sustain Harare city council operations.
4.6. Work Experience
The data presented below details different number of years that personals were involved in revenue collection or revenue division under Harare city council.
Figure 4: Working experience
Source: SPSS output
As indicated in table Fig 4 illustrating different years of experience of personnel in revenue division. This shows that 33.33% (10/30) of workers have been involved with the division for period between 10 to 15 years rendering skills to the organisation. 30% (9/30) respondents have worked for the organisation for period between 5 to 10 years. Personnel that have been involved with the revenue division for above 20 years constitute 13.33% (4/30). Personnel with less experience in the revenue division for period below 5 years constitute 6.67% (2/30).
The finding shows that greater percentage has been involved with the division for period between 10 to 15 years. This shows that personnel associated with City of Harare for period between 10 to 15 years are well equipped with different skills necessary to handle finance issues to significantly increase revenue collection.
4.7. Findings as per Objective
4.7.1. To identify revenue collection strategies used by local authorities
In the process of identifying revenue collection strategies applied by Harare city council, Data in relation to whether revenue collection is an in house collection or is privatised to a private debt collector.
4.7.2. Does Harare city council outsource revenue collection?
The survey conducted reveals that 53.33% (16 /30) employees are aware of the fact that Harare City council outsource revenue collection to Well Cash debt Collectors ltd. This shows that almost half of the respondents are not familiar with officials assigned to collect revenue constituting 46.67% (14/30) of the personnel showing information asymmetry within revenue division.
Information asymmetry has been experienced in City of Harare having other group having the knowledge of the current activities within the revenue division and the other is not aware. This shows weak internal controls within the organisation and poor communication methods.
4.7.3. Rating revenue collection process
Rating revenue collection is of paramount important to assist in identifying whether there is need for adjusting the strategies used to collect revenue.
Figure 5: rate revenue collection
The findings reveal that 17 respondents have frequently rated revenue collection at Harare City council to be poor constituting 56.66 % (17/30). 12 participants disagreed with the concept that revenue collection is poor and identified it as good constituting 40% (12/30). Only single individual participant recommended revenue collection to be excellent constituting 3.33% (1/30).
Conclusively revenue collection is said to be poor according to the finding since those who identified revenue to be poor are greater than those in support of the revenue collection. This fact is connected to the strategies to be discussed below.
4.7.4. Revenue collection strategies used by HCC
Literature described these different strategies used to mobilise revenue and they were graded on a five point Likert scale designed on a questionnaire to determine the extent these strategies reviewed improve revenue generation. These strategies are namely service disconnection, payment plans, issued legal action, delinquency charges strategies, termination of all non-performing leases and use of point of sale . Fig 6 illustrates the findings obtained on the ground.
Figure 6: Revenue Collection Strategies
Source: Primary data
18.104.22.168. Service Disconnection
More than half of the respondents strongly agree that service restriction or disconnection is being used to as a strategy to mobilise revenue showing 56.67% (17/30). 26.67% (8 /30) respondents agree that service disconnection is being applied to collect revenue. This shows an 83.34% (25/30) respondents conclude that service disconnection effective process used to collect revenue. 6.67% (2/30) of respondents strongly disagree that service disconnection was cumbersome strategy used to recoup more revenue for Harare City council whilst 3.33% (1/30) disagreed that service disconnection is being useful in mobilizing revenue. Remaining participants constituting 6.67% (2/30) were not sure whether service restriction is being used effectively to convince ratepayers to comply.
Findings obtained from the field acknowledged or consent with literature reviewed by Devas et al (2012) which mentioned that if local authorities engage in service disconnection. This will compel citizens to pay their outstanding debts. Finding proved that use of service disconnection compelled residents to pay.
22.214.171.124. Legal Action
Legal action is being applied on defaulting residents constituting 50% (15/30) of respondents strongly agree that it is being used to collect revenue. 33.33% (10/30) participants agreed legal action is being used to collect outstanding debts. This shows that 83.33% (25/30) of the participants identified council collecting revenue using messenger of court process to issue summons and warranties to defaulting residents. The remaining 16.67% (5/30) were neutral on whether legal action is being used effectively as revenue collection strategy. According to (Cummingham-Hill,2016) findings shows that use of legal action through issuing of summons and warrants has forced citizens to pay their arrears so as to avoid legal action that involves attachment of property. Evidence provided on Fig 4.6 shows that 83.33% appreciated the use of legal action to be effective in collecting Harare City council outstanding debts.
126.96.36.199. Payment Plan
Payment plan is being appreciated by 83.33% (25/30) of the respondents who strongly agrees that Harare city council is using payment plans to collect revenue by offering 3 months to defaulting resident to repay their outstanding debts. 6.67% (2/30) generally agreed that payment plans are being used effectively to generate revenue. This shows that 90% (27/30) of the respondents supported the use of payment plans to be effective in collecting revenue. 10% (3/30) of the respondents remain neutral on whether payment plans are being effectively applied. The findings shows that 90% appraised use of payment arrangement to settle debts by residents to be the most adopted strategy through spreading the outstanding amount over 3 months. According to Latimer (2012), the use of payment plans that spread outstanding debts over a certain period of time that maybe either 3 or 4 months. This was evidenced by the findings of the research.
Harare city council penalise for all misconduct and breach of any agreement or contract. The survey shows that 40% (12/30) respondents strongly disagree with the use of penalty to be contributing factor to generate revenue that is sufficient to sustain the operations of Harare city council. 23.33% (7/30) personnel staff generally disagreed that penalties generate sufficient revenue for Harare City council. The findings shows that 16.67% (5/30) respondents agreed that penalties are being used effectively to generate revenue whilst 10% (3/30) personnel staff strongly agreed to the use of penalties as a strategy that generate adequate revenue for Harare City council. 10 % (3/30) respondents remained neutral to their decision on whether penalties contribute sufficient revenue for the council. The findings show evidence that delinquency charges are not being effectively used to collect revenue at Harare city council.
188.8.131.52. Aggressive Door to Door follow ups
The finding shows that 40% (12/30) strongly disagree with the use of aggressive door to door follow ups as effective strategy generating revenue for the council. 23.33% (7/30) generally disagree with the use of follow ups in revenue collection to be effective. 10% (3/30) strongly agreed that aggressive door to door follow ups are being used effectively to recoup more revenue for Harare city council whilst another 10% (3/30) respondents generally supported the use of door to door strategy to be effective. 16.67% (5/30) remain neutral to the decision on whether aggressive door to door follow up is being effectively used to generate revenue for the council. Evidence from the findings show that 63.33% (19/30) respondents has denied the use of aggressive door to door follow up to be effective strategy to collect revenue for the council. This shows that aggressive door to door follow ups are not generating useful revenue for Harare City council.
184.108.40.206. Termination of non- performing leases
The finding shows that half of the participants constituting 50% (15/30) strongly disagree with the termination of non-performing leases being used to generate revenues that is financially material to sustain Harare city council operations. 40% (12/30) participants generally disagreed with the use of termination of non-performing leases as effective strategy to generate revenue. Only 10% (3/30) of the respondents remained neutral to the use of termination of non-performing leases in collecting revenue. The data shows that 90% (27/30) participants identified non performing leases termination strategy generating revenue that is not sufficient enough and immaterial to financially sustain Harare city council operations.
220.127.116.11. Point of Sale Machines
Harare city council introduced point of sale machines at all revenue collection points and all respondents supported the fact that use of the swipe machine has effectively generated more revenue for the council. 83.33% (25/30) strongly agreed that point of sale machines has proved to be effective strategy to generate more revenue for Harare City council. 16.33% (5/30) generally agrees to the use of point of sales as an effective revenue collection drive. 100% (30/30) participants supported the use of point of sale to be more productive due to the fact of cash crisis hitting the economy. There were no participants who did not appreciate the use plastic money. This shows evidence that swipe machines has become mode of payment adopted by ratepayers.
In conclusion the findings identified point of sale and payment plans to be the best strategies Harare city council relies most to collect revenue. This is because of liquidity crisis within the economy, citizens have adapted to plastic money through use of point of sales and defaulting ratepayers have resorted to the use of payment plans by spreading the outstanding debt over 3 months.
4.8. The effectiveness of own source revenue instruments used in financing Harare City Council.
On objective two, the findings below on Fig 7 were obtained from the respondent in measuring the extent of contribution of different revenue instrument used to generate revenue. Below is a graphical representation of the research findings
Figure 7: Revenue Sources
Source: Primary data
The survey unravelled distinct own source revenue instruments that significantly increase the quantum of revenue collection at Harare city council. Respondents have strongly agree that council generate substantial revenue mainly from Business licenses which constituting 60% (18/30). Rates have been identified to be the second largest revenue source for council with 53.33% (16/30) respondents strongly agreed. Traffic fees and Parkades was selected constituting 40% (12/30) from respondents to be third instrument on the hierarchy to contribute more revenue for Harare city council. Sporting facilities is the fourth principle factor to generate revenue for the Harare City council as deduced from the findings having 23.33% (7/30) personnel who strongly agreed that it can contribute more revenue compared to cemeteries and fines. Fines are said to contribute less revenue for the as shown on the above fig1.7 constituting 10% (3/30) of the personnel who strongly agree with it contributing revenue to the city council. Last cemeteries are at the bottom of the hierarchy having 6.67% (2/30) respondents supporting it to generate revenue for the city council.
The finding shows that business licenses and rates contributing significant percentage of revenue to Harare city council. These instruments are billed on a regularly basis depending mainly on voluntary compliance of the ratepayers.
4.9. To identify possible reasons for defaults in payments by rate payers
The findings illustrated below shows the reason behind residents not willing to pay their accounts. The reasons are poverty, incorporate obliviousness, inefficiencies at council revenue collection points and unaffordability of the charges which are being rated below consolidated findings from the residents and revenue personnel amongst others.
4.9.1. Unwillingness to Pay
The findings communicate combined response from ratepayers and revenue personnel aggregating to 50 respondents. Unwillingness to pay by residents fetched a greater percentage for reason why residents default having 84% (42/50) of the participants highlighted that citizens are unwilling to pay rates because of the reason that the council always fail to deliver proper service that matches money they pay for. Conclusively according to the findings above residents want to correlate the value of the money they pay with a better quality service from Harare city council. State of Victoria (2014) reviewed the fact of payment of rates without correlation to service delivery in the literature which was identified in the findings to be a reason for not willing to pay.
4.9.2. Unaffordability of Rates
Respondents identified unaffordability to be one of the principal factor having 76% (38/50) of participants were in support of that fact as the reason why residents default, Claiming that the charges are too high and people cannot afford due to the economic hardships since people are unemployed, and the employed are not getting paid on time moreover are experiencing salary cuts of almost 50%. Bemani (2014) investigated the issues of council rates being excessively high as it was identified during data gathering as a reason why residents fails to pay their bills.
Poverty has been considered to be among the factors restricting citizens to service their obligations to Harare city council. The findings identified residents to be willing but lacking the ability to pay showing 60% (30/50) of the respondents highlighted this fact as one of the cause of defaulting by ratepayers. According to Liefde (2014) identified poverty as a factor causing citizens to default due to unemployment and economic hardships which matched with the findings obtained primarily from the field.
4.9.4. Inefficiencies at Council Collection Points
The findings shows 44% (22/50) of the participants identified inefficiency at collection points as the cause why residents neglect to pay their bills. The main sources of this argument dwelled on poor customer services at the collections points, long queues, less staff attending to the customer hence time consuming and others highlighted that some employees go for one hour tea breaks leaving customers waiting for so long. All this has led to customer dissatisfaction.
4.9.5. Total forgetfulness
Total forgetfulness was identified as one of the factors leading to defaulting by ratepayers. 14% (7/50) of the respondents highlighted this unusual reason why residents default. Respondents argued that when people receive bill statements there became aware of their obligations to pay, but due to work pressure, family issues and other matters the ratepayers tend to forget completely about the bills. Some highlighted that they forget about the bills because there is nothing that remind them to pay their bills and one of the respondent furthermore stated that if there was at least water on the tap for one day we might remember but nothing at all hence the reason to forget.
4.9.6. Poor financial administration
Respondents highlighted that poor financial administration has been another cause why the ratepayers default. 40% (20/50) highlighted that fact and they argued that funds are being misappropriated and everyone can see this happening. They highlighted the issue of higher salaries at the expense of repairing roads, streetlights and marketplaces as well as bus terminuses. Some respondents highlighted that the council is buying luxurious cars, making refuse collection truck the opportunity cost. So the ratepayers are arguing that there is reason to pay if the funds are not used properly.
Conclusively unwillingness to pay and unaffordability of rates are the principal factor that has resulted in council not being able to collect adequate revenue from their customers. Residents developing a pattern of noncompliance due to the fact that councils fails to render desired services. Residents find the value they are being charged for rates are too high compared to the service they receive. This shows that residents claims for a satisfied benefit principle that correlate service delivery with money paid.
4.10. Challenges faced in revenue collection
The main objective for conducting the study was to find ways to improve revenue collection within Harare city council. Factors causing the poor revenue collection have to be identified so as to find the right strategies that need to be improved to enhance revenue collection. The data collected from residents and revenue personnel has been consolidated showing factors affecting revenue collection.
4.10.1. Misappropriation of revenue
Misappropriation of revenue has towered all challenges faced in revenue collection having 76% (38/50) respondents agreeing that it is a major challenge faced at Harare city council. Respondents claim that management or top official has misused revenue satisfying their personal drawings at the expense of the council’s objectives. This proves that misappropriation of revenue has scaled down Harare City council efficiency and effectiveness.
4.10.2. Corruption and Fraud
Corruption and fraud has been graded to be the same. 94% (47/50) of respondents highlighted that corruption and fraud are a greater challenge faced in revenue collection. Corruption and fraud both are associated with abuse of position for personal interest that is not in the interest of the organisation. The findings show that officials abuse their power in claiming a cut fee for service rendered which was reviewed by (Ebogbany and Jaafuru, 2013) in the literature of corruption.
4.10.3. Ineffective Internal Controls
The internal controls at Harare city are said to be ineffective as evidenced by the findings. Having 70% (35/50) of respondents agreeing on the concept that Harare city council internal controls are weak. Basing on the fact that the internal controls cannot be able to detect or implement corrective measures on a timely basis, there are regarded as challenge that contributes to poor revenue collection. Deducing from the evidence internal controls are said to be unsound and causing poor revenue collection.
4.10.4. Unqualified and Inexperienced Personnel
Unqualified and inexperienced personnel are one of the challenges said to have caused ineffective revenue collection within Harare city council. The finding shows that 56% (28/50) of respondents agreed with the fact that Harare city council personnel are incompetent and unqualified. This was in relation to the findings obtained on fig 3 showing 60% of revenue personnel not trained for revenue collection. The evidence shows that personnel are experienced and qualified in revenue collection.
4.10.5. Incorrect Billing
The finding highlighted that 40% (20/50) of the respondents agreed to the fact that incorrect billing is causing poor revenue collection within Harare city council since the billing is said to be based on estimates. This has resulted in residents neglecting paying residents because of the inaccurate billing causing them to pay for the service they did not consume. The estimates may also result in some accounts being undercharged hence loss of revenue by the council. Evidence shows that a significant percentage of the respondents have a mutual agreement that Harare city council billing process is inaccurate.
Deducing from the findings corruption, misappropriation of revenue and fraud have be graded to be the most influential factors causing challenges faced in revenue collection at Harare city council. These factors are directly associated with employees ethical behaviour, integrity and professional competence and lack of due care because of the fact that their salaries are not being paid in time. It is a complex scenario for revenue personnel involved in revenue collection and at the same time witnessing inflow of revenue whilst having so many months’ backlog salaries.
4.11. Prepaid water system introduction
Prepaid water meter introduction has been rejected by many respondents. Diseases are said to be born if the system is introduced because one of the reason people are failing to pay their bills is poverty. 36 out of 50 respondents declined the idea of prepaid meters to be used, this was supported by Schoburgh et al (2016) who cited about Harare facing cholera outbreak history and denounced the idea. The introduction of prepaid water meters will result in residents shifting towards cheap and unsafe water sources hence resulting in rise in waterborne diseases. They also argued that it will be a violation of the constitutional right to clean and safe water for every citizen. 14 out of 50 respondents supported the installation of prepaid meters to be effective tool to generate revenue for Harare city council that may enable it to render expected service delivery. McDonald and Ruiters (2012) supported the idea to be good way of providing revenue to the council and eliminates debt accumulation through user charges.
4.12. What should Harare city council do to enhance ratepayers’ compliance?
Suggestions from the respondents include sending bill statement on time so as to correspond with citizens pay dates, to enable them to budget in time. Harare city council should offer discount to ratepayers to encourage them to pay the outstanding debts. The use of legal action was encouraged also so as to use law enforcement to force residents to comply by paying their bills on time and avoid debt accumulation. Lastly respondents emphasised the issue on service delivery to lure voluntary compliance by mentioning the fact that council should perform very well their own responsibilities in a transparent way, then resident will take charge of their responsibilities too in paying their bills on time.
4.13. Chapter Summary
The chapter purports to draw conclusion on the research findings from the field by analysing, presenting and interpreting data into meaningful information by relating information obtained primarily with assertion from literature by scholar in order to resolve revenue collection challenges. The data was obtained through administering of questionnaires and conducting interviews to the participants. The succeeding chapter will dwell on the findings summary and chapter summary, conclusion and recommendations on feasible and practical observations.
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This final chapter is going to dwell on the summary of the research findings, conclusions as well as recommendations. The researcher will be summaries the chapter from the first to the forth chapter and summaries findings from the field. When recommendations are taken into account will assist many stakeholders in making relevant decisions.
5.1. Summary of Chapter
The research begins on chapter one detailing the introductory background of the research problem, in reviewing the phenomena that persuaded the researcher to engage in the study on ineffective revenue collection at Harare city council. The researcher started with an introduction and gave insight of the research problem in the background of the study and describes the statement of the problem, main research question together with the sub research questions and research objectives. The chapter further elaborated on challenges encountered by the researcher during the course of study thus all limitations and delimitations of the study and encompasses significance of the study including definition of terms used in the study.
Chapter two focused on the review of literatures published by different scholars in addressing the research phenomena guided by the research objectives determined in chapter one. The literature review attempt to address the objectives such as identifying revenue leakages, challenges experienced in revenue collection, major revenue sources and enhancement strategies applied to improve revenue collection by different local authorities in answering the main research questions about how to improve Harare city council revenue collection. The scholars also reviewed different perspectives on existing literature in addressing the research objectives.
Chapter three engineered the techniques or methods employed in gathering primary data from the targeted population of seventy-one (71) participants in addressing the research problem. It describes the stratified and convenience sampling technique used to select participants and the research instruments used to gather data from the respondents through administering of questionnaires and conducting face to face interviews. Justification and relevance of using selected research participants, research instruments and sampling technique used was outlined in chapter three. Emphasis was placed on ethical considerations observed when collecting data and so as to grant assurance to the respondents that information shared from them will be kept confidential.
Chapter four centred on analysing, interpreting and presenting findings obtained primarily from the field. Data was presented in different meaningful formats such as tabular, textual and graphical as means of compiling large volume data and present data in summarised format. Comparisons were established linking the literature from scholars with primary data from findings. The researcher further describe the data presented in tables and graphs in trying to deduce the data presented using textual form of percentage and fractions.
5.2. Major Findings
In attempt to discover ways to improve Harare city council revenue collection the following strategies were critically identified as major driving factors to improve revenue collection. Payment plans according to the findings seems to be efficiently contributing positively towards revenue inflows, residents are offered an agreement to settle their outstanding debts within a period of 3 months by dividing the outstanding balance by 3 months including currents months to be charged. More revenue has been generated using payments plans since ratepayers avoid legal action to be taken against them. Residents resorted to 3 months instalment to settle outstanding debts so as to avoid effects of summons, warranties and blacklisting. Payment plans managed to eliminate challenges associated with bribes and other fraudulent activities.
The use of electronic transactions methods such as point of sale system, Ecocash and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) made it easier for residents to settle their debts despite the impact of liquidity crisis within the economy. The economy is facing cash crisis but Harare city council resorted to the use of plastic and mobile money to facilitate a convenient way to pay bills. Revenue leakages associated with holding of cash that were affecting Harare city council has been reduced since swipe system which involves bank transactions between banks, and revenue personnel duties are only there to facilitate the occurrence of a transaction or payment. This works in hand with the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) electronic payment so as to facilitate payment without the use of hard cash.
Service disconnection is being graded as an effective strategy but not properly yielding the expected outcome due to various factors such as economic hardships and unemployment challenges people tend not to pay for the service reconnection charges since they cannot afford. Residents tend to use public boreholes which have a zero marginal cost and no limits in consumption. The fact council water is not purified well, residents now prefer their home based well for their healthy safety call and even council disconnect water residents neglect paying for the reconnection fees since the water is unsafe to drink.
Payment plans are being relied upon by residents since they enable them to spread payment over a convertible period of 3 months. In a nutshell Harare city council has to improve its service delivery to lure voluntary compliance from ratepayers for them to settle their debts through the use of payment plans and using swipe systems. Without satisfaction of benefit principle all these strategies are fruitless since residents want to witness value for their money through quality service from Harare city council.
5.4.1. Installation of Prepaid Water Meters
Prepaid water meters are the only permanent solution Harare city council requires to reduce debts accumulation. Revenue collection maybe easy and convenient for Harare city council since water consumption will be based on payment. This saves Harare city council effort to perform service disconnection and reduce opportunities for corruption. The corruption challenges causing revenue leakages in the form of bribes being accepted in exchange for not disconnecting the water service. In implementing the system Harare city council has to increase payment points to make it accessible and convenient for residents to pay their water tokens without too much hustles just like the way ZESA has done it. Moreover Harare city council should improve the quality of the water they are producing, otherwise the residence will opt not to pay since there will be high risk of falling ill because of the unsafe to drink water. Harare city council should offer percentage of free water on a provided monthly so that whenever residents have consumed the free percentage, they may pay for extra water consumption. This free water consumption is to cater for those who afford less and as a way of eliminating the possibility of outbreak of diseases. The introduction of prepaid water make residents conserves water and improves Harare city council revenue collection.
Harare city council should be able to offer certain percentage discounts to those residents who are up to date with their bills and should also offer a discount on any payment made towards the settling of the outstanding amount, let’s say for example, if you pay 30% of your arrear you get a 15% discount on the amount paid. Continuous debt accumulation is detrimental to Harare city council financially hence encouragement of residents to pay through offering them discounts for any attempt to repay their outstanding balance voluntary on a payment plan basis. This tend to encourage more residents to resort to payment arrangements hence improve city of Harare revenue collection.
Harare city council can carry out promotions so as to encourage prompt payment by residents. They can use cars, houses, stands and other consolation prices so as to lure residents to settle their debts. For example they can say for every 10% of your debt you settle you will have one entry into the competition, and for every up to date account 5 entries every month. This may help in reducing the arrears and also improve revenue collection particularly debt collection.
5.4.4. Quality Service Provision
Harare city council should improve the service delivery to meet the expected standards by residents so as to encourage voluntary compliance. Council should try to restore trust and loyalty from residents so as to compel them to be willing to pay for the service rendered. As evidenced in the previous chapter some residents default because they are unwilling to pay due to poor service delivery from Harare city council. Improvement of service delivery means residents’ loyalty is earned and more voluntary compliance which impact on improved revenue collection.
Harare city council should undertake advertisements so at to continuously remind residents to pay their bills. Some ratepayers tend to forget that they have council bill to settle as evidenced in the previous chapter, therefore constant and regular advertisements may eliminate such problems. All modes of advertising will be required, especially through the television, radios and probably via social media platforms such as facebook and also sending a series of text messages to residents like what Econet do when promoting its products.
5.5. Recommendation for future research
The study has established that revenue collection strategies used by local authorities to be ineffective enough to generate revenue needed to finance operations. The gap between revenue collection and service delivery has to be addressed for local authorities to earn citizens loyalty and influence voluntary compliance to pay for service rendered. Local authorities bear the same challenges in revenue collection that is both urban and rural councils in Zimbabwe. This will helps local authorities to address their challenges and satisfying benefit principle by prioritising on service delivery because residents are waiting for the sunshine to rise one day for them to voluntary pay their bills.
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Appendix 1: Cover Letter
Appendix 2: Questionnaire for Harare city council employees
This questionnaire is designed to collect data on the effectiveness of revenue collection strategies on the financial sustainability of local authorities: A case of Harare City Council. Anonymity and confidentiality are guaranteed and your identity is not required in this questionnaire.
PLEASE TICK ? AS APPROPRIATE
SECTION A: GENERAL INFORMATION
1.What is your age range?
20-30years 30-40years 40-50years
2.Please state your highest level of education.
O’ Level A’ Level Degree
If any other, specify……………………………………………………………………
3.What are your professional qualifications in Finance?
Diploma Degree Masters
Professional Course: CIS/ACCA/SAAA
4.Were you trained specifically in revenue collection? Yes No
5.How many years of working experience do you have in the Revenue/ Finance Department?
Below 5years 5-10years 10-15 years
15-20years over 20years
6.Does Harare City Council outsource revenue collection? Yes No
7.How do you rate revenue collection by Harare City Council?
Excellent Good Poor Not Sure
8.What are the factors leading to increased variance in revenue collection in Harare city council?
9.What are the challenges faced in revenue collection by Harare City Council?
10.What factors do you consider as the reasons behind rates payment defaults?
Please tick on the spaces provided where appropriate: SA-Strongly agree (1) A- agree (2) N-Neutral (3)D-Disagree (4)SD-Strongly Disagree(5)
11. To what extent do you agree or disagree that the following revenue sources contribute more revenue in sustaining Harare city council operations?
Community halls/ Beer halls/ Market places
12. To what extent do you agree or disagree that following are revenue collection strategies used by Harare city council in revenue collection;
Legal action against defaulters
Termination on non-performing leases
The use of electronic money modes of transaction(POS, Ecocash)
Aggressive door to door follow up
13. Do you think the introduction of prepaid water meter system by Harare city council will improve revenue generation?
Yes Not Sure No
15. Is there any notable change in revenue collection since the introduction of EcoCash and swipe system by Harare city?
Yes Not Sure No
16. Do you have any recommendations for Harare City Council to improve on revenue collection?
Appendix 3: Questionnaire for Residents
This questionnaire is designed to collect data on the effectiveness of revenue collection strategies on the financial sustainability of local authorities: A case of Harare City Council. Anonymity and confidentiality are guaranteed and your identity is not required in this questionnaire.
PLEASE TICK ? AS APPROPRIATE
1.Are you paying bills in time before due date?
If no, what are the reasons behind? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
2.Are u satisfied with Harare city council service provision?
3.What would Harare City Council change so as to enhance ratepayers’ compliance? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
4.Do some of the Harare city council staff entertain corruption in order to offer service?
5.Do you think Harare city council revenue collectors have sufficient trained skills to collect revenue?
Yes Not Sure No
6.Do you agree that use of EcoCash and swipe system by Harare city made bill payments easy and convenient?
Yes NO UNCERTAIN
7.Do you agree with the introduction of prepaid water meter system?
8.What recommendation do you give to Harare City Council so that they can improve their revenue collection strategies? ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………