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MARKETEERS in Kitwe have refused to pay the revised market levies despite the local authority threatening to take punitive action against them.
Early this month, the Kitwe City Council (KCC) revised market levies, in a bid to increase revenue collection but the move has angered market associations.
KCC acting public relations manager Dorothy Sampa said in an interview in Kitwe on Tuesday, that council officers are facing resistance from traders who have refused to pay the revised market levies.
Ms Sampa, however, said council management on Monday held a closed door meeting to find a solution to the controversy surrounding the revised market levies.
“Right now, our officers are not collecting anything from the markets because of the resistance from marketeers. The local authority held a meeting yesterday (Monday) to try and find the best possible way of resolving the problem surrounding the new market levies,” Ms Sampa said.
She said the local authority will this week convene a full council meeting to chart the way forward.
And Zambia Traders and Marketeers Association general secretary Chrispin Musunka said marketeers will not comply with the council’s directive to pay increased market levies unless the council holds a consultative stakeholders meeting.
Mr Musunka said the marketeers are demanding accountability in the use of the funds the council collects in market levies.
He said marketeers will soon form a taskforce to monitor the revenue the local authority collects from the markets and how the funds are used.
“What is lacking is transparency in the use of the funds KCC collects from markets. We need to know how much they collect every month and what they do with the funds because our markets are still in a deplorable state,” Mr Musunka said.
He alleged that the local authority has failed to engage market associations to discuss the increased market levies, despite them being important stakeholders.
Mr Musunka said market associations are like unions in the formal sector as they represent the welfare of marketeers.
And the Zambia National Marketeers Association president Elvis Nkandu also said marketeers can only pay the revised market levies if KCC agrees to hold a meeting with them, to build consensus.