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Karonga vendors snub market fees

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Karonga District Council is losing weekly revenues in excess of K360,000 following a decision by traders operating in the main market to stop paying market fees.

Chairperson of the council’s finance committee Patrick Kishombe has confirmed the figure.

The vendors said the decision is meant to force the council to repair the damaged drainage and sewer systems in the market, which pose a health risk to traders and consumers.

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Chairperson of the vendors committee, Godwin Ghambi, said the marketplace is also filled with uncollected solid waste which is producing a pungent smell.

He wondered why the council is failing to get back to them by way of ensuring a clean and hygienic environment despite collecting fees from the vendors.

“The situation is unbearable and as this is the rainy season, we have waste spilling over from the bins and washaways due to flash floods, which is making it very risky for everyone,” Ghambi explained.

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He further wondered why the council wants to be reminded of the importance of proper sanitation when it has a fully-fledged health and sanitation committee.

Commenting on the matter, Karonga Director of Planning and Development David Gondwe said since the council’s tractors broke down, it has had problems settling bills for refuse collection.

He said the council currently hires vehicles for which it pays K20,000 a trip and has in recent weeks accumulated debts for 12 trips.

“Outsourcing such services is not in the best interest of the council due to financial constraints, need I say that it is not sustainable. However, we have managed to repair one of our vehicles and things should be back to normal soon,” Gondwe explained.

This is not the first time vendors in Karonga have protested against unsatisfactory service delivery by the council and some quarters in the district have called for lasting solutions to the problems.

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