22 November 2012

Rwanda: Former Street Vendors Given Tax Breaks

Two modern markets were inaugurated on Tuesday and are exclusively meant for women and youth formerly hawkers on Kigali streets.

The two markets located in Kimihurura and Gatsata sectors in Gasabo District, were commissioned by the Minister of Public Service and Labour, Anastase Murekezi.

They were built through collaboration between the ministry of Local Government and the district.

Murekezi encouraged the traders to take advantage of the facilities to grow their businesses and save with banks.

Goods sold in the markets, dominated by foodstuffs, are exempted from tax, at least for the time being.

"At the beginning, the traders will not pay taxes so as to let them accumulate capital and save more with banks. But they will pay taxes after the expansion of their capital base," Murekezi said.

The minister however complained that some women return to streets as hawkers, leaving their children in the markets.

"If you want to grow your businesses and remain stable, you have to avoid returning to the street, because business there will never flourish," the minister advised.

The new market in Gatsata is operated by Igitekerezo Cooperative composed of 134 former street vendors, most of them women.

It was built at a cost of Rwf 38 million, including contributions from cooperative members who bought the plot at Rwf10 million while the rest came from the government.

The president of the cooperative, Immaculee Mukandayambaje, encouraged other street vendors to seek space in the markets.

According to the Ministry of Public Service, so far seven markets have been put up so as to reduce the number of street vending which is outlawed.

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