As Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET), our attention is drawn to announced charges emanating from Harare City Council. It is with great dismay that we note this increase was done without consultations nor consideration of the fact that small businesses are still grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdown and the resultant decline in business due to the depressed economic environment. The charges, an example being the ZWL 55 273 for grocery shop licence, ZWL 10 351 for hawkers licence and the same amount being for grinding mill licence represent a systematic assault on people trying to earn livelihoods in an extremely challenging environment.
Whilst cognisant of the fact that the city needs to generate revenue in order to meet costs of service delivery, we would urge the authorities to be innovative during these times by seeking partnerships with their public and finding out how best they can assist Council, for example informal associations such as VISET have expressed readiness to assist in development and running of satellite markets and recently, following a fire outbreak at Pomona dump site, business owners operating in the vicinity assisted the Council in bringing the situation under control. It is our firm belief at VISET that such collaborative partnerships are key to service delivery particularly bearing in mind that businesses’ ability to afford these charges are constrained by the economic challenges that show no sign of abating soon.
Source: Vendor’s Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)