Songea District Commissioner, Joseph Mkilikiti
Traders in all markets in Songea Municipality in Ruvuma Region, have refused to pay the increased levy of 400/-, up from 300/-, per day to the council saying the amount is too big for them to foot.
Amid the refusal, they also asked the Songea District Commissioner, Joseph Mkilikiti, to ensure that the head of the markets, Salim Homela quits the post for failing to discharge his duties properly.
This transpired on Monday in a meeting that brought together all municipal traders at Manzese market in the municipality, which was also attended by various leaders including the acting municipal director, Naftari Siyoloi, and deputy municipal mayor Wiloni kapinga.
The traders who were supposed to start paying the new levy on Monday said the council should look into way in which it can embetter services in the markets where they discharge their duties instead of hurrying to heap new bills on them.
Giving examples, they said services such as water supply, electricity, security, latrines were not up to standards despite the fact that all the costs were born by the traders.
Allen Ngolle and Sophia Mahinya, who are traders in the municipality, told the DC that the council has imposed a flat rate levy to traders at Manzese, Bombambili, Majengo, Lizaboni and the Main Market, despite the fact that they belong to different categories.
Amid applause from other, the traders said the main market, for example has never been repaired since
it was built in 2005, adding that its floor and roof were all worn out.
When asked to explain the reason for increasing the levy, Deputy Mayor Wiloni Kapinga, said the increase was a decision made by the municipal council, and it was aimed at making services in the market better.
“It is true that municipal councillors made the decision to increase the levy from 300/- to 400/- so as to meet the operational costs,” he said.
For his part, the DC reminded the traders that according to the Controller and Auditor General, Ruvuma Region ranked last in the 2011 financial year in terms of revenue collection and that the Regional Commissioner, Said Mwambungu, has been told to see that this situation is reversed.
He added that revenue collection in the municipal council needs to be revisited because it was not working in favour of the respective authorities.
Nevertheless, supporting the traders, he said, something ought to be done to enhance cleanliness and bring the markets up to standards.