Brighton Gumbo, Business Reporter
THE Bulawayo City Council is set to announce new vending charges following a fees reduction request by informal traders.
Through their association, small businesses submitted a petition to the local authority seven months back seeking the scaling down of licences and booking charges.
They complained the vending fees being charged by council made their business unprofitable.
Addressing informal traders last week at the Small City Hall, Bulawayo Mayor, Martin Moyo, said the local authority was aware of the vendors’ plight and was working on measures to ensure profitability of their businesses.
“The city council will make its decision in the first week of December during a full council meeting based on the recommendations from the department of financial services, health and community services,” he said.
“The matter has circulated in these departments and they’ve come up with recommendations, which will be used in decision making.”
According to the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), the informal sector had requested that the council reviews its charges.
“Tower Block traders requested their daily fee to be reduced from the current charge of $23 to $10, curio traders at City Hall had requested their fee to be scaled down from $19 to $14 per weekend,” said BVTA.
“Vendors operating at allocated vending spaces like along Sixth Avenue and Lobengula Mall had requested that the council reduce their daily fees of $2 to at least $1.”
Unlicensed vendors who operate on the city pavements requested that the council comes up with a receipt book for them so that they pay council to avoid municipal police and ZRP raids.
Moyo said as part of the measures to decongest unregistered vendors from the CBD, the council had identified an area close to Highlanders Club House to be a vending area.
He said the local authority was working on addressing the issue of shortage in the vending sites, which have been out-numbered by the growing number of informal traders.
“We’re concerned about the explosive nature of vending in the Bulawayo. The proportion has become so overwhelming for the available resources,” said Moyo.
“We’re currently working on establishing more sites so that we try to accommodate as large numbers as possible.”
BVTA is a membership body of vendors and informal traders in Bulawayo that assists its members to establish profitable microenterprises enabling them to secure their jobs, earn more money and live better lives.
It is registered as a trust and its mission is to empower, represent and defend vendors and informal traders so that they can grow their small businesses and support their families.