Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) notes comments by Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube in Parliament regarding disbursement of the ZWL18 billion Covid-19 relief funds.
Minister Ncube revealed that these funds were being disbursed through commercial banks, with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe putting up 50 percent guarantee and were meant for companies.
These comments go against those that were stated when the facility was first announced in that it was said to be inclusive of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and the informal sector.
What is more troubling is that as VISET we believe this is indicative of government’s view of being pro big business to the detriment of the informal sector that has been literally been the lifeblood of this economy for the past 20 years, providing well over 72 percent of jobs and well north of 65 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
VISET has been conducting market tours throughout the country and the key hindrance delaying completion of new markets by local authorities is the lack of funding. We believe the government can assist the sector through capacitating local authorities to build and refurbish markets with adequate ancillary services as well as providing a social security scheme that caters for the sector’s membership.
VISET is not blind to the many competing challenges requiring government financial support, but stands ready to engage with relevant arms on innovative means to ensure that the sector remains viable for the good of the national economy.