Covid-19: Govt avails plans for reopening of informal sector

Minister of Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Sithembiso Nyoni says there is a strategy in place to facilitate the reopening of the informal sector and ensuring its sustainability even post Covid-19 era.

This follows announcements made by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week that registered traders can resume operations.

Giving a ministerial statement, Wednesday, Minister Nyoni said the proposed strategy involves opening the informal sector hubs on a case by case basis after ensuring that all Covid-19 public health and safety requirements are met.

“In order to ensure that the previous disorder does not come back, the ministry working with sector associations and other key stakeholders have come up with a strategy to facilitate the reopening of the sector,” she said.

Minister Nyoni said the continued closure of the sector has affected most people in cities and towns as the Informal sector contributes 60 percent of employment.

She said the strategy employed will see major markets hubs and flea markets such as Unity Village in Bulawayo gearing for reopening.

“The fenced approach basis of micro-market hubs is focused and fenced approach on case basis will be employed to reopen major market hubs taking into account all the precautions and respect what the health guidelines are saying,” said Min. Nyoni.

“Each individual market will be required to satisfy the Covid-19 public health guidelines which include temperature checking at entry points, sanitisation, wearing of masks, social distancing in markets and other measures unique to the respective informal sector hub.”

She added that in cases where there are workplace constraints, vendors would have to derive a rotation system.

Minister Nyoni said markets will be capacitated to have adequate water for handwashing and ablution facilities and where local authorities cannot immediately avail the facilities “a public-private partnership will be employed where operators can contribute to ensure that the facilities are made available as soon as possible.”

The minister encouraged those requiring to be given working spaces to approach their respective local authorities to regularise their operations.

She added that the ministry through its 2020 budget has started working with local authorities to put up new workspaces as measures to decongest markets.

Nyoni said only registered micro-enterprises will be helped to access the $500 million SMEs support fund.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)