MASVINGO City Council has rescinded it’s earlier resolution to increase licence fees by more than 4000% after spirited objections from the business community.
According to a notice signed by acting Town Clerk Edward Mukaratirwa, the local authority has decided to review the rates downwards previously proposed in the 2020 budget which ironically did not receive residents’ nod.
The proposed budget which the council has approved without the input from residents is $220 969 164.
Mukaratirwa said all the business license fees have been revised downwards with immediate effect and those who had already been affected by the increase should approach the licensing officer for adjustments.
“The City of Masvingo hereby advises it’s valued stakeholders that it has revised downwards previously advertised 2020 licence fees. “The decision was reached after considering concerns from various stakeholders.
“All those affected are advised to approach the licensing officer at the Civic Centre for rectification,” said Mukaratirwa.
Mayor Councillor Collen Maboke said the council received more than 30 objections from its stakeholders, as provided for in the Urban Councils Act and therefore council is obliged to make adjustments as per the disapproval.
“According to the Urban Council Act, if we receive more than 30 objections, we should, by right revise the rates downwards. We are in the process of notifying our residents and business community on the new revised rates,” said Clr Maboke.
Masvingo United Ratepayers and Residents Alliance (MURRA) spokesperson Godfrey Mutimba hailed the decision saying the council had listened to the voice of reason.
He, however, said the city fathers had erred when they approved the budget without residents’ input.
“As residents representatives, we welcome the move to revise the rates downwards. At least the city fathers have listened to the voice of reason.
“However, we are not happy by the fast-tracking of the budget approval, as the council made that decision without consulting residents as part of best practice.
“The rates should remain affordable for both residents and the business community. “An increase of 200 % increase on refuse collection is not sustainable for residents and need for downward review needs no emphasis,” said Mutimba.