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Minister Sithembiso Nyoni on informal sector

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
LOCAL authorities should spruce up areas where informal sectors players operate and not just milk them through rentals and charges without providing the necessary infrastructure.

Most informal sector players operate in environments that are not conducive to run any business.

Government is in the process of formalising the informal sector with one of the requirements being the need that they operate in a tidy environment.

Women Affairs, Community and Small and Medium Enterprises Development, Dr Sithembiso Nyoni said some local authorities seem to be exploiting players in the informal sector as they collect taxes from them without improving where they work from.

Most of the players work in dusty environments with no shades yet they are charged by councils to operate from there.

Dr Nyoni was speaking in Makokoba yesterday where she visited Ensimbini Odds and Adds informal sector operators, who recently erected a

US$5 000 perimeter fence as part of efforts to comply with Government Covid-19 prevention measures.

The operators will now be conducting temperature checks while sanitising hands for those visiting their premises as part making their environment Covid-19 safe.

Their operations had remained closed since the Government imposed a national lockdown in March.

Dr Nyoni commended the players in the informal sector for moving towards regularisation, while challenging them to conduct their operations professionally.

“This means that you have to know how much you are paying to the local authority. If you know how much you are paying to the city council, you can then make demands from the council to upgrade the spaces where you are operating from. Councils have a duty to ensure that such spaces are upgraded to acceptable standards as we want the informal sector to be regularised. We expect to see shades being installed here, slabs being constructed and this place being electrified,” said Dr Nyoni.

She said council rakes up to $36 000 a day in Mbare, Harare, but there is nothing to show for it in terms of improving the operating environment for players in the informal sector.

Dr Nyoni was accompanied by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Cde Judith Ncube, who stated the importance of complying with regulations.

She said regularising their operations will prevent cat and mouse games dome operators play with police officers enforcing lockdown regulations.

“Police will indiscriminately deal with people who violate lockdown regulations. I passed along Five Avenue with Vice-President (Constantino) Chiwenga yesterday (Wednesday) and we observed a lot of people violating the lockdown regulations. We know where people need to operate from. So, no one should blame the police when they enforce the lockdown regulations,” she said.

Minister Ncube said residents should take ownership of projects that will improve their livelihoods.

She said what the Ensimbini operators did shows that they take their business seriously.

The minister bemoaned that youths in Bulawayo were not up taking Government projects as shown by a few people who applied for the initial
5 000 grant which saw only 94 benefiting from it.

Ensimbini Odds and Adds chairman Mr Francis Nkomo said putting a perimeter fence was the first step towards regularising their business operations.

He said they had lost a lot of opportunities due to the prolonged closure of their business, which even affected their livelihoods.

“So, we organised ourselves as 180 players in this place and bought the perimeter fence that has since been erected. We have big plans in this place and we will keep knocking at the Government doors if we need any assistance. But now we can freely operate without worrying of being chased away by the police,” said Mr Nkomo. — @nqotshili

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