Vendors association calls for decent work places Mr Michael Ndiweni

Sikhulekelani Moyo, [email protected]

BULAWAYO Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has called upon the newly elected Bulawayo city councillors to channel funds collected from the informal sector to establish decent workspaces and improve services.

On Tuesday, BVTA, civil society organisations and council officials had an engagement discussing various operational issues.

BVTA executive director Mr Michael Ndiweni said the informal players are contributing about 70 percent to Bulawayo and the national economy hence the need to empower the sector by availing conducive workplaces.

Mr Ndiweni said newly elected councillors need to rethink the decentralisation of services through the utilisation of the Bulawayo City Council’s Decentralisation Policy.

For instance, he said vendor licences should be paid at various housing offices

 “Right now, informal  traders from Cowdray Park have to travel to Dugmore (new Drill Hall) to pay for a US$5 licence fee.

Image taken from Shutterstock

“We have housing offices in almost every township where people pay rates and they can be used to also pay for license fees,” he said.

He said the city centre is overwhelmed with vendors and it is the city council’s duty to create economic activities in other townships, which will persuade traders to move from the city.

In that regard, BVTA in partnership with private, public sector and developmental organisations have managed to build the Nkulumane fruit and vegetables market which is now at an advanced stage.

The market will accommodate those who sell fresh produce which will see reduced post-harvest losses by vendors as well as reduced congestion in the city as traders will be buying and selling their produce from the Nkulumane market.

In his address, Bulawayo mayor, Mr. David Coltart, said that the council will work towards decongesting the city through engagements with different stakeholders.

 He said vending is a source of income for many residents.

“They rely on vending to get income, but if we shut them down overnight then we are going to damage their income prospects, and we can’t seem to do that because we have compassion for the poorest in our society.

“So, we will be going to start by speaking to them, have a dialogue with them and we need to start looking at other areas that can be opened up for them,” said Clr Coltart.

BCC once announced that it had identified and designated areas for the setting up of agro-food distribution hubs and vending sites in each suburb in its efforts to reduce decongestion in the Central Business District.

The local authority further identified areas designated for the setting up of market stalls in all the suburbs in the city to enable informal traders to sell their wares within their vicinity.

However, vendors shunned the identified spaces saying there is little human traffic when compared to the city centre. —@SikhulekelaniM1

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