Informal traders operating at Shasha market in Bulawayo have reported dissatisfaction in the poor sales and monthly turnovers they are recording in the wake of the national lockdown. This was revealed by Market Bailiffs who monitor COVID-19 adherence in the marketplaces of Bulawayo.
Informal traders who are still reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are struggling to make ends meet. Their businesses rely on face to face communication with customers and this was not possible under the national lockdown.
During the lockdown, informal traders were banned from selling their wares. Moreover, some of their products, especially perishables went bad, resulting in massive losses. Additionally, dried foods like beans and grains were not spared by pests as s they had been locked up in marketplaces and remained inaccessible for weeks of the national lockdown. The situation stemming from this lockdown led to loss of capital as most of the traders ate into their savings in their bid to earn a living under the harsh economic conditions.
Informal traders plying their trade at Shasha market told The Special Edition Vendors Voice that most of their suppliers were rejecting the Zimbabwe dollar because of the instability of the currency in comparison to the United States Dollar and the South African Rand. The vendors added that, the fluctuating exchange rate was not helping their cause as they sometimes failed to keep up with frequent and sudden changes in the value of money and goods.
“We are struggling to make enough sales as business is slower and we are also failing to order different wares that meet the consumers’ demands,” said one informal trader only identified as Moyo. He said COVID-19 protocols caused revenues to plummet rapidly.
“We are failing to raise money to obtain licenses due to poor sales. The license fees have gone up and are now charged in foreign currency which we are struggling to access,” weighed in Rachel Ncube, a vendor dealing in dried produce.
The traders further said that Zimbabwe’s local currency’s susceptibility to depreciation has adversely affected their businesses because they are forced to sell their wares in the weak local currency in order to salvage profits.