Scores of Kashitu Main Market traders in Kalabo district yesterday stormed Kalabo District Council offices to complain over what they claimed was a sudden increase of stall licenses by the local authority in the area.
The traders complained that the recent increase in market stalls from KR 70 to KR 135 was too much.
The traders who also stormed ZANIS in Kalabo complained that the council increased the stall licenses without notice of the new rates and swung into action of locking shops for those who were not paying.
Some of the traders, Isaac Kameya and Inonge Sitali complained that since Wednesday when the new rates were enforced those who gave excuses of paying later attracted a penalty fee of KR 100 and would now end up paying a total of KR 235.
The traders said that last year when there was a similar problem over increasing stall licenses from KR 70 compared to Mongu where the traders were paying KR 65, it was agreed that the council would reduce the rates but this has not been the case.
The traders have also complained that their counterparts in Mongu have not been affected by this measure as Mongu Municipal Council still maintained the old rate.
But when contacted for a comment on the increased stall licenses, Kalabo District Council Secretary Milly Muluti said that her council was operating in line with the new Statutory Instrument on the Local Government Business Levy No. 20 of 2012 that was issued effective 30th March, 2012.
Mrs Muluti further dismissed the traders’ claims of ignorance saying the district council ran adverts of announcements on notices of the increased stall licenses on Radio Liseli in both Lozi and English languages in December, 2012.
The Council Secretary however said the council has since removed the penalty fee of KR 100 on defaulters but has given a two weeks ultimatum to the traders to pay the stall licenses adding that the traders were now responding very well to the move and hoped to have no defaulters.