The city of Mutare says it will not allow the ministry of small to medium enterprises to dictate the pace in its operations as it plans to reopen markets across the border town.

The local authority is gradually reopening up its market places which were shut down in March to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

So far, the council has decentralised the famous Sakubva horticulture market to high-density areas such as Chikanga, Hobhouse, and Dangamvura.

Mutare town clerk Joshua Maligwa told a recent full council meeting the small to medium ministry should not meddle in their operations as market places were purely council properties.

According to sources, the ministry wanted to be involved in the operations of the council-run markets.

As we plan to open our markets in a safe manner, we will not allow the ministry of SMEs to give us direction,” said Maligwa.

These are council markets. We are told they were saying the Sakubva market will not open any time soon because it sells second-hand clothes but we are saying we are the owners of those markets. We will be guided by a multi-sectoral roadmap in the reopening exercise.

As we speak, in Masvingo the main market is opened but we are saying the closure of markets was a multi-sectoral decision and we are doing the same consultations during the reopening. To tell us what to do they (ministry) will be overstepping their boundaries,” said Maligwa.

Meanwhile, Care International is assisting the local authority in the refurbishment of dilapidated markets ahead of the reopening exercise.

The council has 35 markets and the non-governmental organisation has committed to refurbishing six.

The refurbishment exercise will see most vendors operating in a hygienic environment and in designated areas.

Credit: New Zimbabwe

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