By Edward Mukaro
INFORMAL traders have called upon authorities to explain the selective application of the law upon selection of sectors allowed to open for business during the 30- day COVID- 19 induced lockdown.
The Government recently announced intervention measures meant to curb the spread of COVID- 19 and it among these measures that informal traders have cried foul, as since the advent of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns that have followed have all forbidden informal traders to go about their business, despite the fact that the sectors employ the bulk of the Zimbabwean workforce.
The Zimbabwe Chamber for Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) called for engagement between representatives form the sector and government to map out a way on how small business players’ concern can be addressed during the COVID- 19 era.
“…We have a critical concern on the lockdown condition where certain sections have been allowed to trade and all the informal economy sections have been closed. We feel Informal economy traders have a big bracket of essential services provision at the community level, for example, vegetable market places.
“We also feel that the 30-day lockdown measures should have straight away moved bi-laterally with a social safety net scheme to cushion the most vulnerable in society. We would want the government to incorporate us as an Informal Economy Organisation in policy and implementation move in the fight against COVID-19 where we concentrate on rescue, awareness, resuscitation, and developmental agenda, which has a strong pillar of disaster preparedness to support efforts of the informal economy,” said ZCIEA.
The association further stated its desire to be incorporated in developmental visions and to have a say in some of the national programmes, as it is a key player in the development of the economy.
“We would want the government to incorporate us as an Informal Economy Organisation in policy and implementation move in the fight against COVID-19 where we concentrate on rescue, awareness, resuscitation, and developmental agenda, which has a strong pillar of disaster preparedness to support efforts of the informal economy.
“This is part of the socio-economic inclusion of informal economy activities into mainstream activities as we march into the 2030 Agenda through the National Development Strategy (NDS 1). We are looking forward and prepared for an engagement with the key arms of the government to participate in the development of Zimbabwe.”
Among issues of high significance to informal traders include; respect for and recognition of the informal economy, development of linkages between the informal economy and formal businesses, market access and infrastructure, formalization, financial inclusion, social protection and devolution, respectively.
By Edward Mukaro