Story by John Nhandara
BUSINESS operators in Harare are up in arms with the city council after the local authority hiked shop licence fees by over 1 000 percent.
A survey conducted by ZBC News in Harare’s Central Business District indicated that non-factory shops and food purveyors are now required to part with over ZWL1 million, up from an average of ZWL200 000.
“I used to pay ZWL200 000, but when I went to pay my shop license fees for this year, I was asked to pay US$1 100,” said Business operator, Killian Muzorori.
Several shops are on the verge of closing and moving out of the central business district.
“We are on the verge of closing shop because we are failing to pay the shop license fees. Our plea is that the responsible authorities review downwards the operator’s fees or else we are left with no option, but to close our shops which are sustaining a lot of families,” noted another business operator, Mr Chris Manguni.
Harare City Council Director of Health Services, Dr Prosper Chonzi confirmed the increase in license fees over the phone, saying they are implementing their 2023 budget.
The Harare City Council was recently forced to review vehicle clamping fees downwards from US$137 to US$57 after a public outcry over the high clamping fees.
Many believe the opposition-led city council which has been dogged by corruption is now cashing in on innocent citizens to replenish its dry coffers by charging exorbitant fees and fines.