31 October 2017

Zimbabwe: Call to House Vendors in Unoccupied Buildings

The Zimbabwe Informal Traders Council (ZITC) is appealing to local authorities to accommodate vendors in unoccupied buildings within the Central Business District as a way to curb the vendor menace. ZITC is a grouping of 15 vendor associations that ostensibly lobbies for best business practices, workspace, funding, training and social security. The organisation's project manager, Ms Agnes Magunje, yesterday said there was need to move vendors registered with council to some unoccupied buildings within the city.

"More companies are shutting down and this means more people occupying spaces in the informal sector, which has become the greatest employer as people fend for their families, and the trading spaces have not, however, expanded in order to accommodate the influx," she said.

"ZITC, through its associations, has in the past assisted Harare City Council to register about 20 000 vendors who contributed towards council's revenue in the past years, although no re-investment in the sector has been clearly highlighted."

Council, she said, should involve vendors, small home industry manufacturers and other stakeholders in decision-making.

"Key stakeholders should also be involved in the planning of the World Class City status by 2025 to achieve the goal to bring sanity to the city.

"Centralised regulation of the informal economy risks amplifying local exclusion, which fuels battles between vendors and local authorities," she said

"It is encouraged that global environmental agendas must engage with urban informal economy and promote healthy working environment, while the role of local authorities should be innovation, employment creation, wealth generation and to enhance the quality of life and accommodate people without ignoring the barriers that prevent the informal sector from entering the formal economy."

"The Informal Sector Development Policy should also be implemented if sanity is to prevail in the City of Harare."

Government is ridding the city of illegal structures and activities.

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