GOVERNMENT should give tenders for the production of certain goods to informal traders as a way of supporting them and creating jobs, Harare Informal Traders Council project manager Agnes Magunje said.
BY FIDELITY MHLANGA
Speaking at an Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) conversations titled Vendors: Is there a solution in sight?, Magunje yesterday said by buying goods from vendors and informal traders, government would go a long way in formalising their trade.
“We have a lot of people doing detergents. People in government can say we are giving you tenders to supply us with such products. I know of people who are making these products very well, but they are lacking support,” she said.
Magunje reiterated that under the multi-sector approach, corporates and non-governmental institutions can help people who are in peanut butter and honey-making through asset financing and providing a good market.
“Let’s open up buildings which are idle in town. We have a lot of white elephants in town, where we can subdivide for vendors to operate from. They can apply to sell their cellphones, vegetables and so forth. At the moment, they are all over the place. No one wants to be chased day-in, day-out by the police. We all want jobs,” she said.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president Denford Mutashu said government should construct a vending mall that accommodates all vendors.
“In Singapore, they have constructed huge malls in which each floor accommodates a specific section of vendors, for instance, cellphone wares. We can’t have a city where vendors roast maize cobs in the middle of the central business district. The hunting and gathering must stop, and vendors must have places do to their business,” he said.
Mutashu said political parties must desist from capturing associations representing the informal traders as it affects policy-making.
“Let’s not politicise the vending issue. We see different political parties have seen vendors as a convenient market,” he said.
“The moment it happens, it affects policymaking. The informal sector and vendor associations should not be captured. They should be independent.”
Mutashu added that it was worrisome that some vendors stored their goods in drainage systems dotted around the city centre, posing a serious health scare.
City of Harare spokesperson Michael Chideme said there was need to decentralise vending, adding the city was partnering with certain companies to build vending malls outside the central business district.