Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) notes with concern the 100% hiking of tariffs paid at the City of Harare’s market spaces. This increase is arbitrary and a betrayal of the spirit of consultation which the Constitution of Zimbabwe envisages from public authorities. Representatives of vendors and other informal traders at these markets were not consulted when these new steep tariff structures were announced. Given the tightening economy which has low aggregate demand, many traders will suffer as they won’t make enough money to pay the new tariff structure from sales.

Furthermore, we believe that any increase of tariffs should be guided by general economic well-being. It is common cause that the majority of workers, who are the biggest clientele base of street vendors, have not had any salary increments and the increase will have a knock-on effect on disposable incomes as prices in the markets will go up. This will slow down economic activity and thus lower down the revenues which the City of Harare anticipates to accrue. In addition, as VISET we argue that any tariff increase must be directly tied to an increase in spending on infrastructure in the City markets. The state of public infrastructure like toilets in the City’s markets is a cause for concern and any tariff hike which is not tied to improvement of these facility is unjustified.

As VISET we underscore the importance of consultation before decisions are made by authorities. We further call on authorities to review the increase from 100% to 20% as this would likely yield a win-win outcome for traders, the City and consumers.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)