Bulawayo vendors and informal traders have taken the initiative to explore innovative ideas like forming clusters to produce goods such as garments, masks, detergents and food products, following the suspension of informal trading in markets and failure by the government to disburse COVID-19 relief funds.
Informal traders were promised to receive their COVID -19 relief funds before the end of April 2020 but till to date, they have not yet received the promised support from the government.
Some of Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) members told the Vendors Voice that it is better for them to focus on their work and be innovative because waiting for unfulfilled government promises will leave them hopeless and that when the relief fund comes, it will be worth nothing.
Informal traders told Vendors Voice that the late disbursement of funds show that the government of Zimbabwe does not care about the informal economy workers.
“By the time this government of ours decides to finally give us the relief funds it will be for buying airtime only and this has really showed us that the government does not care about its people”, said Pretty Mpofu, a BVTA member.
“Let us just be innovative to stay afloat otherwise we are chasing what we won’t catch”. Added Mr Witness Mzizi.
Vendors and Informal traders were supposed to receive 200 bond cushioning fund that was confirmed by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Paul Mavima that government was going to disburse funds by end of April 2020, where some informal traders expressed that the proposed figure is too little. It has now been several weeks since the government announced several measures which aim at helping the vulnerable groups and informal traders but till today vendors and informal traders have not received any money from the government.