HARARE – Zimbabwe’s abnormally large informal sector, estimated at above 90 percent, is a result of poor governance and formalising the sector requires political will, the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations said on Wednesday.
The chamber’s president, Lorraine Sibanda said in an interview that the Zimbabwean government was not showing enough commitment to implement ILO Recommendation 204 on the transition from the informal to formal.
The ILO Recommendation 204 seeks to transform the informal economy to promote decent work and economic growth.
“If our leaders change overnight and suddenly have a miraculous political willpower to implement the correct things, then we will definitely follow what is recommended, because these things don’t even require money. It’s a matter of changing attitudes and their view of certain things, and also changing the definitions of certain people because right now informal workers are regarded as criminals,” she said.
She said the running battles that the municipal police had with street vendors in the country were retrogressive as the vendors needed the support of the local authorities.
“That is not correct, instead of doing running battles, there should be consultation, to say why are you trading in the streets and together the government, local authorities and the vendors should find a common solution,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said those in the informal sector were there not by choice but because of the economic situation in the country, which had seen most industries close shop and others retrenching thousands of workers.
“The status quo which causes vendors to trade on the streets is not of their own making. All they want is survival and it is up to the government and local authorities as well as stakeholders to work together to improve the state of the trading spaces for these people and accept that we have very big informal sector,” Sibanda said.
Sibanda said the only thing that was stopping the government from doing the right thing was the politicisation of “absolutely everything in the country”.
“Even going to the toilet as vendors is politicised, because people operate from spaces which don’t have toilets, if they are regarded as belonging to a certain political party then there is nothing that is going to be done for them, all that is done is chase them up and down,” she said.
Africa News Agency