Bulawayo council frets over informal traders

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) says it is overwhelmed by the number of people who require vending space in the central business district (CBD) as more citizens join the informal sector amid rising unemployment. 

This comes after the Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic Transformation (Viset) presented to council its findings of a survey recently conducted in the city on the availability of vending bays and market services during a meeting held yesterday. 

Town planner Shelton Sithole said there was an increased demand for space in the CBD, as many are turning to informal trade due to the country’s high unemployment rate. 

“What we must understand is that the city is designed in such a way that we now need to accommodate everyone but the challenge is that the formal economy has been overtaken by the informal economy. 

“As a local authority we don’t want to take that as a challenge but we take it as an opportunity,” Sithole said. 

Viset said there was a need for the council to upgrade the city’s vending infrastructure. 

According to the survey findings, 42 percent of the respondents operating in the CBD said the quality of the market infrastructure was average, while 24 percent said it was bad. 

The survey also revealed that 72 percent of the respondents indicated that the authorities were not responsive to complaints. 

“We conducted research in Ward 1 (CBD). There were a number of issues which came out, some of them were challenges, and some of them were positives of what is happening in the Ward. 

“The idea is, after we share these findings, we are trying to make sure that the authorities are aware of some of these issues and we are also trying to check how we can co-assist and create solutions to issues affecting communities,” Viset programmes manager, Edward Kapodogo said.