Billboards on buildings to be levied

HARARE - Private properties with billboards facing public roads will soon be paying advertising levies to Harare City Council (HCC).

HCC’s director of works Zvenyika Chawatama said a full council resolved that levies be collected from all buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) and environs displaying murals of all types and sizes.

Council also resolved that telecommunications companies would pay a similar levy for erecting their base stations on council and private properties.

“It had been noted that advertising companies had business links with private properties adjacent to busy roads where they erected billboards and signage facing the roads and not paying levies to council.

“A recent survey conducted by the department revealed that an estimated 300 billboards on private properties and wall murals in the CBD were not paying council an estimated $30 000 per month,” Chawatama said.

He added that the erection of such billboards was, however, permitted provided that the director of works had approved.

He said an amendment to their 1981 Control of advertising by-laws to make it a law was being included.

Last year council warned residents with billboards on their properties to get them registered in the city’s database.

Following the warning, council embarked on an exercise where they destroyed more than 30 billboards that were not paying for using municipal space.

An audit into billboards in greater Harare in 2016 revealed that billboard arrears amounted to $4,2 million.

According to audit committee minutes, the audit also sought to establish whether the billboards were being paid for and if follow-ups were being carried out on outstanding bills.

“It was noted that there was poor management of billboard records since the department could not avail the billboard register.

“The committee observed that the division had the potential of generating significant amount of revenue yet it was short staffed and manned by one person,” read part of the minutes.

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