Francistown City Council (FCC) is working on a cocktail of measures to ensure all vendors plying their trade in the city are fully licensed and directly contributing to the city’s economic growth.
Hordes of vendors, who have since occupied almost every open space especially on the streets of the Francistown central business district (CBD), have not applied or renewed expired vendors’ licenses.
It is against this backdrop that the cash-strapped local authority is looking at widening its revenue generating net in a desperate bid to rake in more income required to fund the council’s tottering operations.
Towards the end of October last year, FCC did send a delegation that comprised council officials and civic leaders to Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in Zimbabwe to benchmark on the city’s existing bye-laws especially for informal sector.
In addition to benchmarking on Bulawayo’s existing bye-laws and enforcement strategies, the Voice Money is reliably informed that the delegation benchmarked on licensing requirements for the informal sector that do not conflict with public health laws.
Voice Money is reliably informed that the city council is looking at marking bays and charging monthly rental fees in some designated areas especially in the central business district and licensing of new emerging informal activities with street vendor license.
“This will create revenue for the council,” reads one of the many recommendations made by the benchmarking delegation that was led by Councilor Gaethuse Ramolotsana.
Contacted for a comment early this week, the council’s Finance Committee Chairperson, James Kgalajwe, confirmed that indeed FCC is considering collecting as much as possible from the informal sector.
“It is a practice that is practiced by many cities across the globe,” said Kgalajwe, adding that FCC has established that it is a norm in their twinning cities such as Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), Livingstone (Zambia) and Buffalo City (South Africa) just to mention a few.
Kgalajwe added: “Collecting revenue from vendors and the general informal traders would help the council to generate the much-needed revenue. Most cities are collecting revenue from the informal sector.”
He added that the council is planning to construct vending stores which vendors will occupy and pay a monthly rental fee. Besides generating revenue, Kgalajwe said the use of vending bays will result in law and order being maintained especially around the CBD.
For many years, the council has been struggling to generate its own revenue and relied heavily on the grant from the central government.
During the 2016/17 financial year, FCC had budgeted to generate over P40million but only managed half of the budget.