Mutare Ratepayers Resist USD Rates, Levies

There was an uproar in Mutare earlier this week when Council started to demand rates, levies and rentals in United States dollars or its equivalent on the prevailing interbank rate from residents and vendors.

Mutare City Council informed residents last week that Statutory Instrument 85 of 2020 empowered the local authority to collect rates and other tariffs in foreign currency.

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The local authority is already charging US$1 per day or its equivalent from vendors, a development that has angered the informal traders.

Taurayi Mukono, the Chairperson of the Chikanga vendors, said the new charges are unaffordable for the majority of thee traders. He said:

Levies have gone up more than six times this year. Initially, we were paying $3 before it shot up to $23.

When the council proposed to hike the levies to $56, we failed to reach an agreement as we are operating in squalid conditions, with sewerage leaks everywhere.

There is no water and soap for hand-washing as well as hand sanitisers. Some of the markets do not even have ablution facilities.

Therefore we were surprised to hear council cashiers demanding US$1 or its equivalent in local currency using the prevailing interbank rate. Those rates are beyond the reach of many.

However, Mutare City Council spokesperson, Spren Mutiwi said it is not mandatory for people to pay rates in USD.

He said people have the option to either pay in USD or the equivalent in local currency using cash, swipe or mobile money platforms.

More: Manica Post

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