Mzuzu City Council has bowed down to pressure from vendors to reduce market fees.
The council raised market fees in all its markets from K80 to K150, but vendors protested the hike, arguing it was exploitative considering that there is no business in the city’s markets. The vendors also argued that they were not consulted before the fees were hiked.
The vendors refused to pay the fee for about two weeks, a development that saw the council losing over K6 million ($12 000). They also resorted to engaging lawyers to challenge the council.
Meanwhile, the council has pegged the new fee at K120 and has since started collecting the money without any resistance.
In an interview yesterday, Mzuzu City mayor William Mkandawire said his office decided to slash the fee after noting that some vendors could not afford to pay K150 daily.
He said: ‘However, the council will still have to collect the money it lost during the two weeks boycott.”
Mzuzu Market vendors committee secretary, Franklin Hara, said the vendors are comfortable with the K120 fee.
He, however, said the vendors are not liable for the money the council failed to collect. He said if the council had consulted them, listened to their plea and reduced the fee, the council would not have had problems in collecting the money.