SENATORS have called for improvement of vending facilities, saying government was planning to tax them yet doing nothing to improve their workstations.
SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
The issue was raised last Friday during debate on the Appropriation 2015 Bill under the sub-vote of the Small and Medium Enterprises ministry which was allocated $5,6 million.
Harare Metropolitan Senator Sekai Holland told Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa that vendors’ needs had to be taken on board before they were asked to contribute to the fiscus.
“There is an adage in the United States which says, ‘No taxation without representation’, and in Zimbabwe street vending has become a new form of survival as people are trying to make a living, but there is nothing being done to improve facilities for them to sell their wares,” Holland said.
“The hygiene standards are very bad, and I am saying if we were to tax those people the responsible ministries should ensure their work conditions are improved,” she said.
Holland said they also faced embarrassing situations such as being harassed by law enforcement agents and having their wares confiscated or being chased away in an embarrassing manner.
Senator representing people living with disabilities Nyamayabo Mashavakure said formalising the informal sector will encourage people to keep their money in banks.
“Most of the people in the informal sector keep their money under pillows. Banks should encourage people in the informal sector to keep their money in banks,” Mashavakure said.
Chinamasa concurre, saying: “As you know, the 2012 census showed that companies in the informal sector employed 5, 8 million persons earning their livelihoods from 3,8 million business entities. At the lower end are street vendors who lay their wares on streets. The bulk of the cars on the streets are owned by people in the informal sector because they are the people with money. However, these people are not amenable for taxation and so we must look for ways to tax them.”
“If we have a $20 million budget, then I will be a real Minister of Finance. My concentration now is on policy formulation and implementation,” he said.