Informal traders demand cushion allowances

Informal traders under the banner, Informal Economy Traders Association have urged the government to immediately release the cushioning funds as their livelihoods have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The government and various partners set aside about $600 million to assist vulnerable groups and cushion them against socio-economic effects emanating from the pandemic.

Each beneficiary is expected to receive ZWL$200.

However, some informal traders in Bulawayo have not yet received the cushioning allowances.  

The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare last week revealed that they have now submitted a list of over 200 000 targeted beneficiaries to the Treasury meant to receive cash transfers in light of the lockdown.

Most vendors are still not conducting their business due to lockdown restrictions.

In a statement, the association said the delay in the payment of cushioning allowances is affecting vendors especially members suffering from chronic diseases.

“We call upon government through its relevant ministries to provide information on progress made so far. We also call on government through its relevant ministries to immediately release the cushioning fund as the situation is dire for many vendors and informal traders.”

The association added that the proposed ZWL$200 is not enough considering the prevailing prices of basic commodities.

“We would like to remind Government that our members are suffering from hunger in their houses and the truth is that there is no food in their houses, our members living with chronic diseases are at greater risk this moment.

“We also call on Government to state the proposed figures that will be disbursed. Press releases have stated that the expected amount is ZWL$200, we would like to state that the proposed figure is very paltry considering the prevailing prices of basic commodities.”

The association also condemned the demolition of vendors and traders working spaces and called for inclusion in decision processes.

“We also strongly condemn the demolition and razing down of vendors and informal traders working spaces without coming up with clear alternative designated trading spaces. In the same vein, the government and the local authorities must consult/involve the informal sector representatives in decision making before they make resolutions that affect the livelihood of informal sector players since now 85percent  of the nation in the informal sector,” the informal traders said.

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