President meets vendors today
Felex Share Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa is today expected to meet vendors at Harare International Conference Centre to discuss issues affecting informal workers.
The event is being organised by the National Vendors’ Union of Zimbabwe (NVUZ).
NVUZ chair Mr Sten Zworwadza yesterday said the vendors would be drawn from the country’s 10 provinces.
“We have mobilised enough and we believe we now have a leadership which can listen to our challenges and address them,” he said.
“The new administration has opened doors wide for us to participate in shaping our future and national development. We are not only playing into the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’, but we are now participating in opening businesses. We have clearly interpreted the President’s mantra to mean that Zimbabwe is open for new ideas, strategies and solutions. As informal economy workers we are doing just that.”
Mr Zworwadza added: “Our meeting is a clear indication that we pin our hopes on a leadership that addresses our plight. We have invited the President not only as the Head of State, but as the number one civil servant whom we pin our future on and if he attends, we will outline the challenges that we encountered under the previous administration.”
He said vendors had a role to play in national development.
“As informal economy workers, we are eager to assist our Government solve informal economic problems such as overcrowding on the streets of the city centres,” Mr Zvorwadza said.
He said they were working on a number of programmes and projects meant to benefit informal traders.
“We are in partnership with POSB, NetOne and TelOne to ensure we empower informal economy workers,” he said. “We want them to benefit in low cost housing schemes, low cost loans, interest earning accounts and other finance schemes. We also have an arrangement we are working on with the National Building Society (NBS) on infrastructure development for informal economy workers.”
Government is carrying out a comprehensive study on the informal sector to guide it in making policies to grow and integrate the sector into the mainstream economy.
The informal sector is the source of livelihoods for millions of Zimbabweans. At the turn of the millennium, Zimbabwe was slapped with economic sanctions by Britain and her Western allies over the land reform programme and these have had a devastating impact on the livelihoods of the majority.
Several companies either closed or scaled down, resulting in a substantial number of formal employees losing their jobs.
The sanctions agenda, which crippled the formal economy, also led to the emergence of entrepreneurial talent among those who lost jobs and had to use their skills from previous employment to earn a living.