NewsVendors Voice

No clear interventions on the extended Lockdown

Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (VISET) have complained that as the government continue to extend the lockdown there are no clear interventions to curb the spread of the Covid 19 and mitigating the economic ills that are faced by the citizens as a result.

President Mnangagwa extended the lockdown subject to fortnightly reviews.

“There can be no downplaying of the severe casualties wrought by this deadly pandemic and all actions must be taken to curb its spread. It is however disturbing that from yesterday’s announcement and indeed from previous proclamations, what is absent are the practical interventions of safety nets for all those whose livelihoods are affected,” the organisation said.

“It is a matter of fact that even before the advent of this deadly disease, hunger was already stalking many households and hence it is government’s duty to urgently attend to this issue. We hear of many deaths being attributed to stress and high blood pressure, due to the economic situation. It is our prayer that the much touted cushioning allowance moves from ministerial announcements into people’s bank accounts whilst they are still of some value.”

He said what is of further concern to VISET is that there would appear to be a deliberate attempt at eliminating the informal sector and vendors in particular through the lockdown measures.

“Whilst almost all sectors of the economy have opened up without much restrictions, the informal sector in yesterday’s announcement was said to begin a phased reopening. Considering the number of our membership and indeed those reliant on vending in general, there is no specific mention of when we can safely begin the reconstruction of our livelihoods,” VISET said.

“We urge the authorities to look into this issue with the urgency it requires. Of further concern is that this indefinite extension further impacts upon the construction and completion of new vending sites as we fear this maybe used as an excuse to keep vendors from plying their trade and providing for their families.”

He said let us strive to ensure that whilst we seek containment of Covid19, this should not result in us adopting measures that will lead to a higher death toll arising from hunger and stress.

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