Informal traders input into the formalisation strategy

 The Women’s Institute for Leadership Development, amongst other stakeholders in the informal sector, attended a public consultative meeting that was conducted by the Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare. The meeting focused on the development of the formalisation strategy for informal businesses.

Speaking at the public consultation meeting, the formalisation strategy consultant, Mr. Nyasha, highlighted that there is a need to formalise the informal sector and ensure that the rights of informal traders are safeguarded.

“Formalising the informal sector is a great way of ensuring that the rights of traders are not violated. We are cognizant of that some of the drivers of informality in our country are lack of skills, inability to cover the costs of formalisation and lack of access to finance. This formalisation strategy will, however, work to ensure that informal traders are recognised, have adequate and safe working conditions, have more productivity and income, and will also ensure the fulfilment of their economic rights,” said Mr Nyasha.

The facilitator went on to touch on some challenges that some minority groups face that should be addressed, specifically relating to women and persons with disabilities.

“Women used to dominate the informal sector, but as a result of retrenchments, men now take up 58.3 percent of the informally employed and women make up 41.7 percent. Women are facing more challenges in these spaces. This strategy will take into consideration the different needs of women and people living with disabilities,” he added.

During the plenary session, a presentation was done on the challenges and possible recommendations of governance and legislation issues affecting informal traders.

“Informal traders tend to bear the brunt of poor governance hence there is need to teach informal traders about their rights and equip them with knowledge on the channels they can use after being violated. Also measures have to be put in place to ensure that laws and regulations are executed at a convenient time and after everyone has knowledge of them,” said one of the participants.

Portia Madzivire a representative from WILD who attended the meeting cited examples noting that S164 of 2016 led to protests after it was implemented.

“It is very sad that some of the benefits that are meant for informal traders tend not to benefit all of them. For example, not a lot of informal traders benefitted from the COVID-19 allowance hence there is need for transparency and accountability on the allocation of resources. Lastly there should be constant enforcement of laws that are gender sensitive and also sensitive to diverse monitory group like PWDs so that no one is left behind,” said Madzivire

Participants, commended the effort by the government in conducting this consultation, but emphasised that it should not end there but citizen’s contributions should be included and not disregarded.

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