Harare City Council says it collected more than $1,5 million from vendors in 2018, 23% below the projected income.

Minutes from the informal sector committee tabled at a recent full council meeting indicate that the local authority collected $1 532 473 00 between January 2018 and December 2018, although more could have been realised.

“Revenue collection had declined by 23,39% during the year under review compared to the previous year,” part of the minutes read.

“The decline in revenue collection was attributed to the following challenges: inadequate funding for informal sector projects, political interference in allocation of market stalls to vendors and revenue collection and economic hardship, resulting in traders failing to pay market fees to council.”

Council has more than 20 000 vendors in its database with the majority of hawkers reportedly operating illegally.

As a way of increasing revenue collection, the city resolved to embark on a joint blitz with the Zimbabwe Republic Police to raid illegal traders and enforce compliance.

“The joint operations had been engaged to assist Harare municipal police in the enforcement programmes and engagement of political parties to encourage vendors to pay market fees directly to council and not through middlemen,” the minutes read.

At the end of 2018, council embarked on an operation to remove vendors from the city to designated sites, but the exercise was met with resistance.

Council on Tuesday resolved to increase trading sites and intensify its blitz to ensure sanity prevails in the city centre.

Meanwhile, the local authority has announced that it was adjudicating suitable proposals from private partners to develop market stalls that meet international standards.

Council on Tuesday stated that designs for the market structures had already been done and a memorandum of agreement with a local bank to fund the project was still being discussed.