Market encroachers affecting Phalombe District Council’s revenue collection

PHALOMBE, Phalombe District Council says it is failing to collect enough revenue from markets as projected due to people’s encroachment and shop arrangements in its markets, Malawi News Agency (Mana) has established.

Chiringa Market Revenue Collector, Charles Sitolo made the revelation on Wednesday during Phalombe District Council awareness meetings with market committees on the dangers of constructing houses within the council’s markets and selling of goods in road reserve boundaries.

Sitolo said due to the large number of businessmen who constructed their houses within the council’s market establishments, collection of revenue has dwindled since residential areas do not pay business taxes.

We face a lot of challenges during our operations since most of people in the markets refuse to pay revenue on the basis that they are not doing business but living in houses as their homes. These people claim the places within the markets to be their ancestral lands, Sitolo pointed out.

Sitolo added that with support from market committees in the areas where the malpractice is growing at an alarming rate, the council recently conducted dialogue with people residing inside market premises to vacate the markets but such efforts did not yield.

One of the dangers of constructing houses within the markets is that it causes fire and increases cases of theft, Sitolo observed.

Phalombe District Council Lands Officer, Annie Chimalizeni bemoaned the practice by residents of the district, describing it as both unlawful and retrogressive.

Land where markets are constructed belong to government and the public as such no-one can build his/her house within the market campus without authorisation from the same government, Chimalizeni emphasised.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA