Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) welcomes the call by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) for government to honour its pledges for provision of social Grant’s for the Informal Sector during the Covid-19 lockdown.
As the Commission has rightly pointed out, these promises were long since made yet to date there has been no meaningful disbursements to the sector and its membership. All this at a time when the Zimbabwe national statistics agency (Zimstat) has revised the Food Poverty Line (FPL) upwards to $4 670 to register a six-and-a-half percentage increase over the November 2020 figure of $3 279.41.
Compounding the misery of the Informal Sector is that health service provision is low owing to the fact that some of these facilities have become pandemic hotspots. It is reported that since the outbreak of the global pandemic, 1 547 health workers have tested positive and seven have succumbed to the global pandemic across the country.
An example is Chitungwiza Municipality that has temporarily closed St Mary’s clinic with immediate effect due to a shortage of health professionals. The shortage has been attributed to Covid-19 pandemic which has infected some of these front-line health workers. Chitungwiza Municipality Acting Town Clerk Dr. Tonderai Kasu confirmed the development in a statement.
With regards education, authorities have been urging parents to sign up for online learning, which requires access to the internet, yet for the majority who earn a living from informal trading, they can barely afford a meal, let alone data.
Considering that all available data shows the growing contribution of the informal sector, which some economists say accounts for the bulk of sales for formal companies and that the 2021 budget proposes further taxation on the sector, VISET feels it is high time that government takes seriously the provision of social security for the Informal Economy so as to ensure its growth and the welfare of its membership.
Source: Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET)