City of Harare must utilise revenue to develop the informal sector

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) notes the declaration by the City of Harare (COH) that they have collected $1.5 million in revenue from the informal sector in 2018. While the collection was below the projected levels, it is important that the COH use the collected revenue for developing the informal sector.

By the council’s own admission, the informal sector is bringing in a lot of revenue for council and it is only fair that the council reciprocate by allocating 70% of the revenue collected to supporting the informal sector. This is more critical given that council has correctly observed that part of the key challenge facing the informal sector is inadequate funding.

This lack of funding for the informal sector projects has seen very little infrastructure development resulting in the existing infrastructure suffering so much pressure as it cannot accommodate the growth of the sector. Further, it has resulted in many in the informal sector workers taking to the streets in order to eke out a living.

More importantly, the COH must also immediately stop its attack on the informal sector as the indications on the ground show that it is racking in resources and if adequately support can grow and increase its contribution to socio-economic transformation. The barbaric attacks on vendors in the streets is thus misplaced as it is a direct attack on the ability of council to grow its revenue cake. It’s also important that politicisation of the allocation of market spaces in the informal sector must be stopped forthwith as it is detrimental to the growth of the sector and to the livelihoods of people.

VISET has long pointed out to the fact that the informal sector can generate a lot of money for the economy if adequately supported and the facts from the COH revenue report is empirical evidence for this. We thus urge the policy makers and duty bearers to exercise wisdom and feed the goose that lay the golden eggs.

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