VENDORS and informal traders here have been urged to consider uniting in importing or exporting their products, as part of cutting costs in the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
This comes as the government yesterday officially opened the country’s borders to allow people to enter or exit Zimbabwe provided that they produce Covid-19 free certificates. The Bulawayo Vendors and Informal Traders Association (BVTA) yesterday hailed the government decision but was quick to warn its members of the challenges that lie ahead.
“We urge our members to now consider bulking when either exporting locally made goods or importing goods to reduce the costs on Covid-19 certificates for which individuals cough up an arm and a leg. This will help in reducing costs and logistics.
“We have been advocating through our formal communication with government that the plight of informal cross border traders (ICBTs) was dire and the borders needed to be reopened to help them.
“We hope the Department of Immigration and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) are prepared forincreased numbers of people leaving and entering the country,” BVTA director Michael Ndiweni said. While there appears to be general excitement among cross-border traders, the cost associated with their business due to Covid-19 has become the new headache.
Most vendors and cross-border traders have been finding it hard to make ends meet since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in March.
“Our hearts are with ICBTs who are feeling the pinch of the Covid-19 certificate that is beyond many struggling majority women and men. The cost of compliance is now a burden to many. “We also urge our members to be vigilant and not be lured to buy fake PCR Covid-19 certificates.
“We gather that there seem to be unscrupulous people who are selling fake certificates to unsuspecting ICBTs and that can leave one stranded at the border or in a foreign land. “The worst part is that one becomes complicit in spreading the virus to your family or friends and we all know the consequences,” Ndiweni said.