THE Bulawayo City Council is reviewing its shop licensing laws with a view to regularising the operations of all informal grocery selling shops that have mushroomed in the city and collect revenue from them.
Informal shops selling significantly cheap groceries are posing stiff competition to established retail outlets.
Most buildings in the Central Business District (CBD) have been turned into informal grocery selling shops, but they are not paying licence charges to council.
Ward Two councillor Joyce Ndlovu raised the issue of the increasing informal traders selling groceries during a recent full council meeting.
“Councillor J. Ndlovu sought clarification on the increased number of lettable shop units mostly selling grocery items. She wanted to know if they were licensed individually or they were using only one licence,” reads part of the council minutes.
The deputy mayor, Mlandu Ncube also concurred with Ndlovu.
“Most buildings in town next to Fifth Avenue have been turned into lettable shop units. Was this in line with the council’s licensing regulations? Of late Covid-19 regulations were no longer being adhered to,” noted Ncube.
However, in response, the city’s assistant director of health services Khulamuzi Nyathi concurred that lettable shops were posing a headache to the local authority.
“Assistant director of health services (environmental) explained that lettable shops were increasing in the CBD. Council was working on ways to regularise such activities. Relevant licensing by-laws would be reviewed accordingly,” further reads the minutes.