Gweru City Council is set to spend more than US$40 000 at this year’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) exhibition which is set for the 25th to the 29th of April in Bulawayo.
Speaking during a full council meeting in Gweru on Wednesday (29/03/2017) Gweru Town Clerk Elizabeth Gwatipedza said exhibiting at this year’s ZITF will attract a total expense of US$40 000, for the three officers that will be manning the stand at the fair for 8 days, as well as rentals and repairs for the stand pavilion.
“The budget that was arrived at, for us to exhibit at the ZITF will require a minimum of US$40 000.
“From the budget there fixed costs like the rentals, which for the past two years the City has not paid a single cent towards the rentals for the pavilion at the fair and we were told if we wanted to exhibit we were to pay the arrears in full to the tune of US$11 000.
“We would then have at least three officers manning our stands, and when we did the calculations they would need US$8 000 for the 8 days.
“Thirdly, because for the past two years the City has not exhibited, the pavilion condition has deteriorated such that we need to make some repairs and maintenance, which after making assessments I was informed that we need between US$8 000 and US$15 000,” she said.
Gwatipedza added that private partnerships with the business community would lift the burden for the council being the sole bearer of the costs borrowed from the Redcliff Town Council strategy as private companies would go and market their products at the Council’s stand and contribute towards the costs.
In the past, Gwatipedza said, private organisations had been exhibiting at the council pavilion but paying nothing with the Municipality bearing all the costs.
Council had to come to a decision between two resolutions one by a council subcommittee in support for the attendance (of the Mayor and Town Clerk) and the other by administration calling for the abandonment considering the high costs for the exhibition.
Councilor Tiripai Chipondeni said so far Gweru has benefited nothing from the fair as people were just going there ceremoniously.
Chipondeni said Gweru should be tactical when attending such fairs, to get ideas from others and to strategically market the city for potential investors with the stand manned by professionals who can market the City and its potential, however saying if attendance to the fair was just a tradition then it should be abandoned.
The council then decided to adopt the subcommittee resolution after considering the pros and cons of the exhibition.
The debate arose after one of the councilors, Joas Tsanyau, said he supported the adoption of the administrative decision to abandon the Fair but in vain.