Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
Kwekwe councillors recently agreed not to insist on a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) clearance in the issuance of trading licences to businesses operating in the city.
During a full council meeting on Tuesday, the councillors argued that ZIMRA’s requirements were costing the local authority thousands of dollars and unanimously agreed that traders be given licences without ZIMRA clearance.
A trader who seeks a licence from council, should be cleared by ZIMRA before proceeding to council, a move the councillors said has prevented shop owners from applying for licences, prejudicing council of revenue.
Kwekwe mayor councillor Matenda Madzoke said the local authority has lost thousands of dollars as most shop owners were not applying for licences due to the ZIMRA requirement.
“We cannot continue losing thousands of dollars that are supposed to be channelled towards the development for the city due to a single Government arm. I propose we give our people licences, without involving ZIMRA,” he said.
He said ZIMRA was a department that should also recognise a local authority as an arm of Government.
“ZIMRA is a department, and we are local Government. We cannot continue suffering because of their laws. We are also a taxing authority that can carry out taxing services on our own,” he said.
Clr Madzoke said the current setting was fuelling illegal trading in the city.
“We can no longer ask for trading licences because the situation has fuelled illegal traders.
“We will licence our traders then send ZIMRA a list, then they will make their own follow ups,” he said.
Ward 1 Councillor Mbekezeli Ndlovu said some rules were meant to be broken.
“Let us break this law, it is causing serious disservice to our council. It is unfair as it is only applying to a few local authorities,” said Clr Ndlovu.
The councillors said the law is only applicable to Kwekwe, Kadoma and Chegutu councils.
The councillors ordered Kwekwe Health director Mr John Bandama to start processing licences immediately without the ZIMRA clearance.