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Council Guns For Unlicensed Business Operators

Mutare City Council management has launched a shop license blitz against businesses operators which have not renewed their licenses for the year 2022.

In a notice, council urged business operators in Mutare to urgently prioritize the renewal of their licenses as the window period has lapsed.

Council has since launched a blitz closing off defaulting shops in some sections of the Central Businesses District, as the financially hamstrung municipality seeks to raise revenue.

“The window period provided by the shop license act has since lapsed on 31 January 2022. Therefore, with effect from 1 February 2022 no shop will be allowed to open for business without a shop license.

“According to the shop license Act chapter 14:17, Section 12 subsection (4) it stipulates that “Any person who fails to take out or renew a licence within one month of the date on which he becomes liable to take or renew the licence shall be liable to a penalty of one-twelfth of the appropriate licence fee for each month or part thereof which has elapsed since his liability in that regard arose,” read part of the statement.

“City of Mutare started the issuance of licence reminders in October 2021 and by now we anticipate that all business operating in the City are complying to the Act. City of Mutare will carry out a licence blitz beginning 1 February, 2022.”

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Commercial Federation of Manicaland Trust (CFMT) founding trustee Brian James, accused council of seeking to armbush hard pressed businesses.


James requested council to provide full details of the Act referenced by council as a well as an updated invoicing system that alerts businesses in advance.

“Can City of Mutare supply the detailed and sub revenue lines these charges fall under when invoicing businesses. Businesses would also like to see a copy of the Act Council are referring to,” he said.

CFMT represents business interests, ratepayers and concerned stakeholders angling for accountable and transparent discharge of council duties.

A shop owner, Thompson Hurudza said council must also consider the plight of business and not implement a blanket blitz without considering the impact of Covid-19.

“Council should be considerate of the different businesses and how they were affected differently by Covid-19. Some of our businesses are just picking up and council should also consider that we have been up to date ever since,” he said.

Council has been struggling to collect full rates form ratepayers and residents, with business the hardest hit as it lags behind in payment. In 2020 businesses forfeited a bonus prize for fully paid accounts, as no business was up to date.

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