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» » Masvingo Council in rates hike climb-down

Ruvarashe Chichera

MASVINGO - The business community has breathed a sigh of relief after the local authority announced that there will be a revision of the proposed 2020 licence fee increases which had caused immense pain on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Masvingo City Council has already advised the business community to approach licensing offices at the Civic Centre to get new figures.
Towards the end of last year, council announced new business licence fees with an average of 4 000 percent increase across the sectors but it has now been reversed.
“The City of Masvingo hereby advises its valued stakeholders that it has revised downwards previously advertised 2020 licence fees after considering concerns raised from various stakeholder groups. All those affected are advised to approach our Licensing Offices at the Civic Centre for rectification…” reads part of the noticed published recently in the media.
Last year, TellZim gathered and published the reaction of many small business people in town who expressed hopelessness saying they will never afford to pay the new fees and will have to operate illegally.
People were also made aware of the window period offered by council to write letters of objection to the rate hikes so that the required number of letters needed to force a revision could be reached.
Masvingo City Council chamber secretary, Vitalis Shonhai confirmed then that people were submitting their letters of objection through the formal channels.
“I can confirm some people have already sent their letters. The budget is only a proposal and it will only work if people agree to it. I urge people to take the right channel and communicate through formal processes,” said Shonhai.
Owing to the high default rate in the payment of licence fees among small business people at the beginning of the year, the police had started taking advantage of the situation to arrest the defaulters and release them upon payment of bribes.

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