BULAWAYO vendors and informal traders have come up with new methods to navigate and continue to earn income even when the outbreak of the COVID-19 has seriously disrupted their usual way of doing business.
BY SILAS NKALA
The traders have since formed clusters to produce goods such as garments, masks, detergents and food products following the suspension of informal trading in markets and failure by the government to disburse COVID-19 relief funds.
Informal traders were promised relief funds before the end of last month, but to date, they have not yet received the promised support from the government.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) members last week said it was better for them to focus on their work and be innovative than wait for government aid.
“By the time this government of ours decides to finally give us the relief funds, it will be for buying airtime only and this has really shown us that the government does not care about its people”, a vendor Pretty Mpofu said.
Another BVTA member Witness Mzizi said: “Let us just be innovative to stay afloat, otherwise we are chasing what we won’t catch.”
Vendors and informal traders were supposed to receive a $200 cushioning fund that was confirmed by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mavima.
The traders, however, complained that the money was too little.
It has now been several weeks since government announced several measures aimed at helping vulnerable groups and informal traders, but to date, vendors and informal traders have not received any money from the government
Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni said they had a meeting recently in Cabinet and money would be disbursed to the vendors soon.
“We had a Cabinet meeting, where we touched on the matter. They will not be the first ones on the list, but they will receive their money,” she said.