Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has reduced vending bay rentals by almost 18% and cancelled debts for all traders as the city forges ahead in incentivising the informal sector, latest council minutes have shown.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
According to a new proposed vending rentals review for the central business district (CBD), the monthly charge per bay for fruits and vegetables was reduced to $11,50 from $14.
The charge for vending in periodicals, newspapers and phone recharge cards was reduced to $15 from $17.
BCC said while the vendors had shown a desire and need to trade, it was necessary that their activities were promoted and the matter of fees addressed fully.
“This followed numerous requests for rentals review and debt relief by the informal traders. It was also critical that their needs were addressed and for council to respond to the stakeholders’ needs,” the report read.
BCC said informal traders paid monthly rentals and a licence fee of $37 per year.
The city recommended that all debts be cancelled and every trader begins on a clean sheet.
Last month, the local authority indicated it had reduced vending bay rentals in residential areas by 50%, from $10 to $5 to encourage informal traders to take them up.
BCC has also started construction of more vending bays along Masotsha Ndlovu Road adjacent to Highlanders Sports Club in the CBD at a cost of about $900 000.
Of late, the city has been clamping down on vendors resisting moves to relocate them to designated vending bays in the city centre.
Bulawayo streets, like others across the country, are crowded with vendors, who have vowed to stay put at undesignated sites despite several warnings by the local authority to remove them and de-congest pavements.
Vendors have been accused of violating city by-laws by selling goods such as stationery, meat, clothes, footwear, cellphone gadgets and accessories next to registered businesses.
Mid last year, the issue of illegal vendors gripped the nation, with government imposing several deadlines for all vendors in the country’s CBDs to move back to sites previously identified and new ones to be designated by various local authorities.