Local authorities have been encouraged to adopt systematic ways of managing parking patterns in their cities as a way of supplementing revenue.
These remarks were made by City Parking company marketing manager Francis Mandaza during an Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) conference held in Bulawayo last week.
Chapter 29:15 of the Urban Councils Act provides for parking management in local authorities and empowers councils to enter into contracts with private players for the purposes of doing business.
The City of Bulawayo has over the past months been investigating a case where four councillors are alleged to have been involved in an illegal deal with a parking company in Harare.
In 2012, BCC cancelled a parking management services tender which they had initially granted to Megalithic Marketing Private Limited.
Mandaza said as local authorities work towards the implementation of devolution, there is a need for them to manage their finances and develop innovative ways to finance their operations.
“Local authorities are faced with a shrinking revenue base against the high cost of service delivery. The Local authority revenue base has shrunk and is overdependent on rate accounts,” he said.
“As city parking, we are saying you can partner with us in terms of managing parking infrastructure traffic in your respective local authorities so that you cushion yourselves. There is a global trend demanding councils to be innovative and responsive so there is need for enterprising ideas to create sustainable solutions and move away from over-reliance on rate accounts.”
Mandaza explained that local authorities are there to provide social services but within that, can be innovative though identifying and segmenting areas to ringfence as business ideas and parking is one of the ways to do so.
“You are totally empowered in terms of the Urban Councils Act and your respective bylaws. This is not a foreign idea. You are all perhaps managing parking traffic in your local authorities but we can manage that together,” he said.
Mandaza added that City Parking has the potential to Improve remittances within local authorities.
He said the company, which is already operational in Harare, has been remitting significantly to the capital city’s council.
“This is a call for partnerships. We are ready to partner you in managing parking efficiently. We have already made investments to enable you to kick start from wherever you are without much capital outlay,” said Mandaza.
“We have the right systems and management in place ready to partner local authorities so for ease of doing business.”
Mandaza explained that most cities are still using manual parking systems where one displays physical parking disks but condemned the system to be highly porous.
“Councils need an efficient parking system that will compute parking data. You will not make a profit from parking if you are not able to create a stock for the day. The system we have can compute parking data in terms of how many vehicles park a day, how many motorists have paid and to be able to view parking data in real-time so that if there are any defaulters, enforcement can be done real-time,” he said.