By Joyce Mukucha
The Zimbabwe Integrated Traders Association (ZITA) has called upon the government to provide finances to small to medium enterprises (SMEs), informal traders, and small businesses for them to stay afloat during the enforced 30-day national lockdown aimed at containing the surge of Covid-19 infections in the country.
ZITA highlighted that even though the government has previously advanced some Covid-19 relief funds to small businesses and informal traders, the money was not sufficient to sustain them for such a long period.
In a statement, ZITA appreciated the fact that the rising cases required the government to act decisively to curtail the pandemic and save lives but also indicated that though life is precious than any economic activity, there was also a need to ensure the sustainability of SMEs and citizens in general.
“Although we applaud and support the government for taking decisive action to prevent Zimbabwe from losing more lives to the pandemic, we call upon the state to cushion SMEs and informal traders as the lockdown will negatively impact their operation which is their source of livelihood,” the statement reads.
“We support the move by the government to restrict the movement of people and business activities for 30 days to minimise human contact which is responsible for spreading the virus but we are also emphasizing on the disbursement of adequate funds for our members.”
The organisation also urged its members to comply with the government and desist from violating the lockdown guidelines stating that it will not only put citizens at risk of clashing with law enforcement agents, but it also exposes the public to contaminating the deadly virus which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives across the globe.
“This is indeed a difficult period but together we will pull through. We also encourage our members to utilise the digital space to conduct business so that they continue to operate without entering into physical contact with clients.”
Other affiliate organisations for SMEs, Informal Traders, and Small businesses such as the Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations are moving with the same mantra voicing for the funding and catering of informal traders to ensure their sustainability during the lockdown period.