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A new leaf for informal traders as they signed Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with the Bulawayo City Council

Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) applauds the Bulawayo City Council’s (BCC) effort in approving the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the council and Informal Economy Associations in Bulawayo. This partnership aims at improving the working conditions of informal workers and traders in Bulawayo.

Efforts of coming up a MoU started in 2021 after a series of consultation meetings with informal economy associations namely, BVTA, BCC, Bulawayo Upcoming Traders  Association (BUTA), Simunye Informal Traders, Highlanders Informal traders Association, Renkini Island (Malaleni), Bulawayo City of Kings Vendors Association (BCVA), Street Wise Informal Traders Association (SWITA),Site 5 informal traders and Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Association (ZCIEA), all under the umbrella of Bulawayo Informal Sector Working Group. The working group came up with clauses for both BCC and informal economy associations that will be undertaken and fulfilled by both parties. “The need for having an MoU was realised during an Informal traders Indaba meeting held at City Hall in June 2021, where informal economy associations felt the need for having MoUs of which the request was then sent to council and was approved or adopted in the council that sat on the 4th of August 2021, said Bulawayo Town Planner Shelton in a meeting. “The local authority then consulted associations that are registered in Bulawayo that the local authority works with and these include BVTA, BUTA, Simunye, ZCIEA among others, added Sithole”. “Quite a number of consultation meetings were done, with members of associations being given time to draft their own MoU document. The local authority through its own informal traders sub-committee also had its draft MoU. These documents were then combined and shared amongst the working group. A meeting was then held at Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel to agree on the combined draft document, which was shared with the council and all constituencies of the informal economy associations in Bulawayo.

They were given a month to deliberate on the document and the final draft was shared with the council and it was approved in December 2021, Sithole continued. “MoUs are very critical for quite a number of issues. It is one document that will foster the transition of informality to formality as it is part of the Recommendations of ILO,” said Sithole. “The MOU between BCC and the Informal Economy Associations is an agreement in which both parties undertake to foster cooperation on various fronts,” BVTA President Aleck Ndlovu told The Vendors Voice that the associations are committed to ensuring that their members are regulated in terms of business operations i.e., compliance with by-laws such as trading from legally designated sites, licensing, attending to security matters as well as practicing environmentally friendly activities, alluded Ndlovu.”

“On the other hand, BCC is committed to providing decent workspaces with access to clean water and ablution facilities. There will also be periodic meetings to review or share important notes on challenges prevailing in the sector if any. We hope to work well with BCC and produce credible results in enhancing the sector in Bulawayo, added Ndlovu.” “We are awaiting the official ceremony of the signing of the MoU which will be advised soon,” said Sithole.

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