Informal traders want to be recognised as essential service providers

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) Executive Director, Samuel Wadzai has implored the government to recognise informal traders as essential service providers in order to ease their plight during the Covid-19-induced lockdown.

Wadzai made the plea during an interview on CITE’s online show, The Breakfast Club, where he highlighted the challenges faced by vendors under lockdown.

The Covid-19 induced lockdown prohibits informal traders from operating, plunging them deeper into poverty as they remain with no alternative sources of livelihood.

Wadzai described the informal traders as a critical part of the economy which needs support from the government in order to be able to carry out their operations in the midst of the pandemic.

He noted that once the government recognises them as essential service providers, various organisations will come through and assist them with necessary resources which will enable them to adhere to regulations which will prevent them from spreading nor contracting the virus.

“The informal economy is the economy. The government needs to categorise informal traders as essential service providers so that they can be protected. We cannot just shut out informal traders because they constitute a greater deal of the economy in Zimbabwe. We need to be able to protect this segment of the economy which is very critical to the survival of the economy,” he said.

Wadzai explained that the reason why informal traders are usually found on the wrong side of the law is the fact that they have no alternative sources of income hence to fend for their families they end up violating lockdown regulations.

“There is a need for the government to come in quickly and support the informal system. We understand that figures are surging everyday and the country’s health delivery system is not perfect but vendors have been affected and they have no alternative means of putting food on the table. That is the only way in which these lockdowns can work because people will continue to try to eek a living,” he explained.

He urged the government to take heed of the recommendations made by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to avail resources for people, especially the informal traders in order to enable them to get by while they are under lockdown.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology: CITE