CHIPINGE— The business community here has slammed the town council for coming up with prohibitive tariffs which they say are anti-business.
In the town council’s 2021 budget proposal a shop licence has risen to an equivalent of US$200 from a US$63 equivalent last year
Business people who spoke to TellZim News said that the new tariffs are not in sync with the prevailing economic conditions.
“It seems everything else is going up these days but no one is paying attention to what the people are earning.
“I run a small phone shop and I wonder where I would get that money for a shop licence from. We also have to pay rent on top of the shop licence among other operating expenses. This is suffocating and in a way, we are being told to close shop,” said one small business owner.
Another added that the council should always consult with people before coming up with any rates hikes.
“What happened to consulting the people involved? Nowadays things are just being imposed on us. What justification do they have to hike shop licences to US$200? It is pure evil and nothing else.
“We should create an enabling environment where every legitimate person will prosper and not close the door on us. How are we supposed to grow if we are being robbed like this?
“People should just unite and confront the council,” said cosmetics shop owner.
Chipinge Town secretary Susan Dube said the council has pegged its 2021 budget in line with the auction system rate and added a 10 percent variation in case of inflation.
“What people need to understand is the fact that the council needs money to provide services. The rates which people are complaining about very reasonable and have been pegged in line with the auction system rate.
“We have also added a 10 percent variation rate which will cushion us in the event that there is inflation. We are committed to bringing services to our people and we can only do that if we peg our rates in line with the prevailing situation,” said Dube.
Chipinge’s 2021 budget also saw a sharp increase in other tariffs among them water development tariffs which soured by 655% from $75 to $566, the refuse collection per bin increased from $75 to $499 and sewerage levy rose from $86 to $554.