By Staff Reporter
CHINHOYI Municipality has come under a barrage of criticism following the latest round of shop licence fees increases.
The new 2023 tariffs have seen most retailers, including clothing boutiques, being charged US$600 per year, up from US$230 last year.
Retailers are angry with the local authority led by town clerk, Maxwell Kaitano, and are demanding a downward review of the 2023 shop licence fees described as steep in light of depressed business.
Recently, a group of female retailers who operate boutiques demonstrated at council offices calling for a fees cut.
A retailers’ representative, Agatha Mhondera said council was not sensitive to ratepayers’ plight as their charges were exorbitant.
Lucia Tiwone said there was need for council to decisively deal with vendors, who illegally occupy the pavements selling same products which are in registered shops.
“Council is busy demanding such high fees without addressing illegal vending which has negatively impacted on our sales.
“Imagine a trouser is costing US$15 in a shop whilst outside the shop vendors peg them at $10 thus killing our business, then you hear council charging
us such figures,” said Tiwone.
Contacted for comment, Chinhoyi Mayor Garikai Dendera castigated residents and ratepayers for snubbing budget consultations.
“The problem is most residents and ratepayers do not attend budget consultations where proposed figures are debated. In most cases, you find representatives from these businesses,” said Dendera.
“On the issue of putting an end to illegal vending on pavements and outside shops, council is doing its level best with municipal police conducting routine operations to clear illegal vendors.
“We have also partnered a donor, who helped us constructing vending sites to accommodate 200 to 300 vendors. We are only left with ablution facilities for vendors to occupy the space.”