Dowa District Council is expected to be the first council in Malawi to introduce the electronic ticketing system of collecting market fees.
The system will be piloted in Dowa boma and Mponela markets starting on July 1 after which it will be rolled out to other markets across the district.
Following a successful learning visit by the Dowa Councillors to the Blantyre District Council last year, the council thought of hiring students to work as revenue collectors in its markets for 3 months alleging that huge sums collected were entering into the revenue collectors’ pockets for personal gains other than the council benefiting.
Speaking in an interview, Dowa District Council’s Chief Accountant, Salom Tsoka, said the council thought of migrating from the old manual system of collecting market fees to the new one because there were a lot of problems associated with the old system.
Tsoka said the old system required much supervision by the secretariat officials on revenue collection which was time wasting and costly but this time around, the monitoring will be done easily.
He said the new system, whose machine and software have been supplied by Nitel, has security features and will also make it easy for the council to produce a well updated Electronic Business Register.
Tsoka expressed hope that once the new system is installed, the council will improve on efficiency, monitoring and reporting.
He revealed that the council is targeting Mk142 million in market fees collection in the new financial year which begins on July 1, 2018.
However, speaking at one of the previous full council meeting, Dowa South East parliamentarian, Harry Njoka Chipeni, asked the council secretariat to explain what it does with the revenues collected from the markets observing that the council is failing to build toilets in its markets including a public toilet at the busy Mponela trading centre in the district.
He lamented that at Chimwaza market on the Lilongwe-Kasungu M1 road, people are answering calls of nature at a nearby graveyard and bush, a situation which is a health hazard especially during the rainy season.