Spare a thought for the informal sector

HARARE – Government should accommodate the informal sector instead of seeking to destroy it as has been pronounced by key government functionaries in the past week, the opposition MDC-T has said.

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Eddie Cross

Eddie Cross

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Bulawayo South Member of Parliament and MDC-T secretary for local government Eddie Cross lashed out at utterances by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development Ignatius Morgan Chombo and Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko that councils should curb the activities of informal traders at a time ‘‘when government has failed to provide jobs for the people.’’

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Chombo told the annual general meeting of the Urban Councils Association in Bulawayo last week that Councils should take steps to curb the activities of informal traders operating in and around the urban areas.

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“It should not be necessary to remind both men that with less than 5% of our total population in paid employment and an economy that is shrinking daily, most Zimbabweans have no choice but to try and make a living by whatever means are available. Street traders are no exception and instead of threatening them and trying to evict them from their places of work, the state should be considering their needs and attempting to make provision for these,” said Eddie Cross.

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He said the country had 2,5 million informal sector traders on top of thousands of mini bus operators and over 500 000 informal sector miners while nearly a third of all foreign trade is conducted by small cross border traders, most of them women.

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“Without their efforts the economic situation in Zimbabwe would be dire indeed. It is no exaggeration to say that their hard work, initiative and enterprise are all that stands between Zimbabwe and a total economic implosion. They do this in the face of untold hardship, a hostile civil service, an arrogant and corrupt police force and little or no support from the State.

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“In the meantime it is also necessary to remind everyone that the informal sector is the nursery for the formal sector entrepreneurs of the future. These small business persons are achieving in very difficult conditions,” Cross added.