Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is encouraging Bulawayo vendors and informal traders to apply for licenses to enable them to trade in proper designated areas.
BCC Public Relations Officer Nesisa Mpofu in a radio interview on SkysMetro FM, a program brought by the Sizimele Consortium funded by Zimbabwe Resilience Building Fund (ZRBF) under the Market Aggregation project, said that council has decentralized licensing in terms of resolution and policy, therefore vendors and informal traders can now apply for licenses at Dagmore offices along Basch Street.
This comes after Market Bailiffs who monitor COVID-19 compliance in markets under the Market Aggregation project, found out that only vendors and traders with licenses are trading at designated vending bays.
Vendors and traders were removed from the Central Business District (CBD) during the national lockdown period as a way of curbing the spread of COVID-19 pandemic and this process affected their operations, leaving them stranded. The majority of the informal traders’ businesses were affected.
“People were removed from the CBD during lockdown and we are trying to create a conducive working environment in terms of COVID-19 protocols where people are now trading in certain areas”, said Mpofu.
“The licensing process may currently be slow because we want to make sure that those who are licensed and were removed from their trading areas are the ones that get bays and those who are making new applications could be people who are facing challenges”, added Mpofu.
“The application fee for a license is 150 RTGS for trading in the CBD and 75 RTGS outside the CBD. The license is valid for one year. Vendors are encouraged to complete a vending bay application form which is available on the city of Bulawayo website and council offices and send it to the city council email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) or via WhatsApp (0772120637). After the application follows allocation and thereafter, one is called for an interview to be vetted by Zimbabwe Republic Police for record clearance and protection of the community.
“Once you are given a license, you have to pay the monthly rental which is 100 RTGS in Central Business District (CBD) and 50 RTGS outside CBD”, continued Mpofu.
“Informal trading looks at the disadvantaged members of the community and people who lost their jobs, unemployed, and physically challenged, widows and widowers and those who do not have a source of income qualify to have a vending license, this comes as a form of a social net” alluded Mpofu.
The national lockdown that took effect in March 2020 affected the informal sector and vendors were relocated from the CBD to various trading sites in the townships, the relocation is meant to help curb the spread of the corona virus which has claimed thousands of people in the world.