Informal sector demands social, financial support

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THE Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) has called for the inclusion of its members in devolution and financial programmes in order to provide sustainable jobs and income to the sector.

This follows an order by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week for those in the informal sector to register their businesses in order to resume operations following a recent ban on their work due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

In a statement, ZCIEA said the issue of registration of the informal economy workers will do away with the “ugly perception” of informal workers and traders as unorganised tax invaders.

“The formalisation process should give provision of access to economic freedom, in order to provide sustainable jobs and income for informal economy workers and traders, which include: respect for and recognition of the informal economy, development of linkages between the informal economy and formal businesses where synergies must be created between the informal economy and formal business organisations,” the organisation said.

ZCIEA said there was need for devolution to promote the empowerment of citizens to be in control of their local communities and social protection for the provision of affordable social services in the form of pensions, medical aid and insurance to informal economy businesspeople and workers.

The informal sector had been banned by the government in order to curb the spread of Covid-19, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

A large number of Zimbabweans are in the informal sector due to the shortage of formal employment, following the closure of numerous companies because of viability challenges.

“It is important to point out that our organisation has already been proactive in the fight against Covid-19 countrywide through the provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to informal economy workers and traders in partnership with some local authorities and assisting 3 000 vulnerable members with cash transfers to cushion them during the lockdown.

“This initiative was designed to protect not only our membership but greater society and we will continue to do so as part of complementing the government’s efforts to combat Covid-19 in Zimbabwe.

“We urge the government to set up consultative and inclusive all-stakeholders dialogue platforms (informal economy organisations included) in order to come up with transparent processes of formalisation and regularisation of the informal economy that is developmental and sustainable from community level to national level,” the organisation said.

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