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Government is letting us down: Informal sector

by Kudakwashe Vhenge

 By Sukuoluhle Ndlovu

Masvingo – The national lockdown that started on Tuesday saw the informal sector closing down and the vendors feels that they have been let down once again by the government.

The national lockdown was announced by the Minister of Health and Child care who is also the country’s Vice President, Dr Constantino Chiwenga over the weekend.

The informal and formal traders thought that they were going to be spared this time around again and continue operating like any other businesses.

Informal trading has become a norm in the country with majority of the population surviving through informal trading and having to close it down has seen many traders feel that the government has once again let them down.

Many informal traders who could not afford to rent a shop or space had made themselves comfortable selling in the streets of the City with the fear of the city council police only. 

Naomi Chikumi who sells baby wear at a complex in town said that she was caught unaware.

“Covid -19 cases are rising each and every day and people are dying but we did not think that this will lead to another lockdown and leading to us to have our shops closed and go back home.

“Selling from home is not easy and also travelling from point A to point B is not easy at all hence deliveries are then restricted. The government should do something to address our plight,” she said. 

Another who spoke to this reporter also said said the government should know that most Zimbabweans are making a living out of informal trading and banning it will not help in any way as people want to make a living.

She said the government should find ways to make sure that we operate like any other businesses operating from 8am -3pm.

“When it was announced that we were not an essential service, we had to sell our produces at a giveaway prize in fear of running a loss. Vending is the only job l have ever known and the government should understand that there are different ways of making money,” she said.

A statement under the Informal Economy Agenda Coalition read that, “We are concerned that market places have been placed on outright closure. It would have been preferable if licensed traders were allowed to continue operating with strict Covid -19 protocol compliance. It is of concern to the informal sector representative organizations that there are no provisions for social protections for vulnerable groups of people such as members of our organizations”.

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