Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) yesterday participated at a Policy Dialogue Forum on the Informal Sector in Zimbabwe that was held in Harare. The dialogue forum was organised by the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) in conjunction with Oxley Consulting. The dialogue forum was a culmination of a survey that was conducted by Oxley Consulting from the beginning of the year (2017) and was completed beginning of October. To that end, the dialogue forum was held primarily to discuss the survey results and to develop, through dialogue, policy proposals regarding the informal sector for submission to the Government of Zimbabwe.

The Dialogue Forum involved representatives of the private sector in both the formal and informal sectors, together with representatives of labour and leading economists. Other notable organizations that attended the forum includes Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) which was represented by Dr Godfrey Kanyenze, Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) represented by Mr Michael Ndiweni the Coordinator, Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) which was represented by its President Ms Loraine Ndlovu and the Secretary General Mr Wisborn Malaya, Zimbabwe Cross-Border Traders’ Association (ZCBTA), Representative of the Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe, Women in Mining (Bulawayo) and Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) represented by Mr Oswell Binha.

VISET Executive Director Samuel Wadzai delivered a presentation on Policy Options for the Informal Sector where he unpacked the organisation’s Proposed Policy on Street Vending which was launched in May 2017. The proposed policy whose major objective is to provide and promote a supportive environment for earning livelihoods by the Street vendors, as well as ensure absence of congestion and maintenance of hygiene in public spaces and streets, is going to be used as working document when CIPE eventually approach government with the recommendations that came from the dialogue forum.

On the on-going vendor evictions, VISET Executive Director shared with the forum some of the progressive elements that are meant to ensure that all times the rights of street vendors are respected as follows:

a) Eviction should be avoided wherever feasible unless there is clear and urgent public need in the land in question.

b) Where relocation is absolutely necessary, notice of minimum 90 days should be served to the concerned vendors.

c) Affected vendors/ representatives must be involved in planning and implementation of the rehabilitation project.

d) Affected vendors should be assisted in their efforts to improve their livelihoods and standards of living or at least to restore them, in real terms to pre-eviction levels.

e) Loss of assets should be avoided and if possible compensated.

f) State machinery must take comprehensive measures to check and control the practice of forced evictions.

Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)