CHINHOYI — The Municipality of Chinhoyi which had announced a 50% reduction in tariffs for 2012, has made an about turn, saying it would only effect a 15% cut on shop operating licence fees.
The council had given in to pressure by residents and ratepayers to whittle down its proposed tariff regimeon the $14 million budget for 2012.
Council finance committee chairperson Davies Zinduru confirmed the development last Friday.
“After weighing the pros and cons of reduction in charges, we realised it was going to negatively affect the entire budget for 2012. We therefore only resolved to cut tariffs for shop operating licences by 15% instead of the earlier agreed 50%,” Zinduru told NewsDay.
The council, which began its budget consultative meetings last month in all 15 wards, was proposing the adoption of an almost standstill budget as that of last year, but ratepayers felt other charges such as shop licences were exorbitant.
Small-to-medium entrepreneurs in the town argued they were struggling to pay the annual $400 charged for operating licenses. The local authority had pegged the operating licence fees at a minimum of $400 and a maximum of $1 400, figures described as “extortionate”.
As a result, municipal authorities recently closed many business premises operating illegally after operators failed to pay the fees.
The move by the local authority is likely to elicit the ire of the already overburdened small-to-medium enterprise operators in the town.
Chinhoyi council is struggling to recover
$9 million owed by residents and ratepayers in unpaid rents, rates and other supplementary charges.
According to council sources, the 2012 budget is going through the last phase of consultations this week before it is submitted to the Ministry of Local Government for approval.