Karonga district council bows down to vendors demand: Reduce market fee

Officials at Karonga district council in northern Malawi’s have bowed down to vendors demand and reduced the recently hiked market fee from K120 to K80 per day.

The reduction has come few days after vendors held protests against the market fee hike which disrupted business in the border town as shops and market were closed.

Chairman of Karonga main market committee Godwin Ghambi confirmed the development to Nyasa Times on Tuesday saying the council has been forced to revert to the old fee when the vendors boycotted paying any market fee.

“After the demonstrations we declared that Karonga will be a free market because the District Commissioner refused to meet us. And we have stayed for four days without paying the fees until today when they are coming with the old fee of K80,” said Ghambi.

Karonga vendors: Their concerns addressed
Karonga vendors: Their concerns addressed

He added that besides paying the reduced market fee they are also collecting the fees based on a bench not on the individual items as was before.

“What happened in the past was that if you have three or four items on the bench such as tomato, onion and beans we were paying for each item but now we are just paying basing on the bench and we are proud with this as it shows the demonstrations were fruitful,” said Ghambi.

He however applauded the council officials for taking heed of their concern saying market users are happy now although it took them to be on the streets first.

Urban Administrator Geoffrey Mkandawire confirmed the development but emphasized that this is temporally measure.

“Yes we have reduced the price but not permanent, we will call for emergency consultative forum meeting to discuss on the matter,” said Mkandawire.

He added that they have reduced the market fee not because vendors have demonstrated but to still make the market clean.

“It’s not because they demonstrated but it is because we were not collecting the market fees since their demonstration and we saw that the market was lacking sanitation services that’s why we thought it wiser to just be collecting the fees on the past price that would help in improving sanitation at the market for their own good,” said Mkandawire.

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