BVTA calls for clarity in the decentralisation of markets

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has bemoaned the lack of clear guidelines in the relocation of vendors from the Central Business District (CBD) to the high-density suburbs as part of efforts to minimise the spread of Covid-19.

Last year the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) ordered more than 600 vendors who were trading at the 6th Avenue in the CBD to move to vending spots closest to their places of residence.

The local authority had said the relocation would be informed by the existing City of Bulawayo’s vendors database.

Speaking during a meet the councillors online meeting last week hosted by BVTA, the association’s president, Aleck Ndlovu said the decentralisation process is not effective.

“The other challenge is that the decentralisation of traders from the CBD to the suburbs is not visible I would say, according to me it’s not visible, there are plans, City Council talks about having identified these hubs where the wholesalers are going to be selling stuff from the identified site but on the other hand they also talk about negotiations with those people who are in the wholesale trade business, so we don’t know where really City Council is standing, it is not visible,” said Ndlovu.

He said their expectations were that the setting up of the markets would be expedited in light of Covid-19.

Ndlovu added that the current lockdown also affected the livelihoods of most vendors as they were not operating.

“The other challenge that we face is that we bemoan the slow pace of licensing by City Council, members were in the course of renewing licenses but lockdown put that off due to closure of the offices for some time,” he said.

“You will realise also that towards the end of the year the markets were briefly reopened and it brought temporary relief to our traders but it was short lived.”

Meanwhile, responding to some of the questions ward 10 councillor Sinikiwe Mutanda highlighted that the decentralisation process was meant to decongest the CBD.

“We are currently making a plan on making these market structures, we noticed that with this lockdown, people still needed passes to go into town but when these market structures are put in place it would reduce the number of people going to town as they can buy within their suburbs.”

She added that “The other important thing as vendors, let us get licenses to operate as this helps even Council so that when we start a project, for example, market clusters, it makes it easier for planning processes so that people can be allocated good spaces in shopping areas.”

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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