By Ndatenda Njanike
MORE than 60% of Zimbabwe’s working population now survives on vending or other informal sector operations and there is need for the government to recognise the trade and provide necessary safety nets.
The 60% translates to over 10 million people surviving on the informal sector.
The call was made by economist Eddie Cross, who is also a member of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) monetary policy committee.
Cross was speaking during a zoom meeting organised by Vendors Initiative for Economic Transformation (VISET) under the “Economic Transformation Decongesting Markets, An Update of Renovations and Development of Satellite Markets” Thursday.
Cross said Zimbabwe was now the second most informalised economy according to analysis by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with about two million people working surviving on vending.
“At least 10 million people owe their source of livelihood to activities of the member of the family who is vending. Therefore, it is the obligation of the local authorities and there are over 100 of them to provide facilities for vendors within the councils. That is where the future of Zimbabwe’s economy lies,” he said.
Cross added he didn’t think the government of the importance of the informal sector.
“I think it is very important for them to recognise those issues. One thing I have constantly noted is the under representation of the small guys while they are the largest contributors to the nation.
“They should not relay on sponsorship but on proper representation. We as individuals, would not survive without the informal sector,” said Cross.
This week, the Harare City Council issued a warning to all tuckshop owners vendors operating in the capital city to remove pull down their structures before 18 February failure of which the local authority would move in and demolish them.
Thousands of families will lose their livelihoods as they survive on vending to sustain their livelihoods. Due to the current Covid-19 national lockdown, the government has barred most informal traders not selling fresh market produce to close business.