THE Bulawayo Vendors and Traders’ Association (BVTA) has encouraged members to form savings and credit co-operative societies (SACCOS) because they continue to be shunned by the formal banking sector.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
BVTA executive director Michael Ndiweni said the vendors’ representative body has also rolled out financial literary training programmes for its members to help them form SACCOS.
A SACCOS is created by a group of people with a common interest such as churches and vendors with the objective of saving money collectively, then make loans available to the group’s members.
“We are busy training on financial literacy and encouraging members in the sector to form credit co-operative societies. These are internal lending schemes.
“Although this is beginning to yield positive results, the prevailing economic environment is heavily affecting these schemes, with the loss of value of the bond note and RTGS dollar eroding their savings daily,” Ndiweni told Southern Eye.
He said the financial literacy trainings equip traders with skills to manage their finances, what they earn from their economic units or businesses, and how to generate viable business ideas.
“We are thus calling for government to seriously deal with the currency crisis. Adopting the rand, for example, will ease these problems faced by the sector; the government’s intransigence of currency issue is putting a heavy load on already burdened and suffering informal traders,” he said.
The BVTA has also been pushing for amendments to the vending by-laws, to protect members’ rights to facilitate for orderly informal trading and to harmonise the relationship between the informal trading sector and the formal sector.
According to findings of a BVTA research conducted by the National University of Science and Technology, about 59% of vendors and informal traders are not aware of the provisions of city by-laws, the informal sector in Bulawayo is still governed by 1976 by-laws that prohibit informal sector trade in the central business district. Because these by-laws are no longer applicable to the present informal trading conditions, informal traders and municipal police are constantly engaged in running battles in the city.
Early this year, the Bulawayo City Council and informal traders were forced to sign a peace deal to ease tensions between municipal police and informal traders that had resulted in violent skirmishes.