By Joyce Mukucha
The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) has voiced concern on the lockdown condition where certain sections have been allowed to trade and all the informal economy sections have been closed.
The organisation bemoaned the shutdown of the informal activities indicating informal economy traders have a big bracket of essential services provision at the community level, for example, vegetable market places.
ZCIEA said lockdown measures should have come with the social safety net programme to cushion vulnerable groups in society.
As a membership-based organization, ZCIEA pointed out that it was also concerned about its members who are informal workers and traders who are mainly feeding on hand to mouth and are still struggling to get their footing since 2020 lockdown measures.
“Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA), is deeply concerned with the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and devastated by the loss of lives (including informal economy workers and traders) in the world due to this global pandemic.
“We would like to acknowledge the 30-day lockdown measures as announced by the Minister of Health Vice President CGDN Chiwenga to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.
“We are equally very concerned with the spike of COVID-19 cases.We are further worried by the fact that even some of our members are becoming victims of the pandemic,” said ZCIEA.
This, ZCIEA added, therefore, compliments to support the effort by the government to strengthen safety measures by introducing 30-day lockdown measures.
“We believe lockdown, in as much as a certain level of infringements, limits the movement of people and therefore reducing the spread of COVID-19. We are pleading with the government to incorporate them as an Informal Economy Organisation in policy and implementation move in the fight against COVID-19 where they can concentrate on rescue, awareness, resuscitation, and developmental agenda which has a strong pillar of disaster preparedness to support efforts of the informal economy.
“We also feel that the 30-day lockdown measures should have straight away moved bi-laterally with a social safety net scheme to cushion the most vulnerable in society.”
The organisation highlighted that cushioning the most vulnerable in society was a critical part of the socio-economic inclusion of informal economy activities into mainstream activities as the nation march into the 2030 Agenda through the National Development Strategy.
“We are looking forward and prepared for an engagement with the key arms of the government to participate in the development of Zimbabwe.”
ZCIEA has given high interest to the seven key thematic areas. These include respect for and recognition of the Informal Economy; Development of linkages between the Informal economy and Formal businesses; Market access and infrastructure; Formalisation; Financial Inclusion; Social protection; and Devolution.
The organisation further explained that these themes play a pivotal role. They contribute in the context of COVID-19 and beyond, as well as towards the 2030 Agenda.
The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) is a National Membership driven Organization representing Informal Traders Associations of Zimbabwe. It is made up of the self-employed and informal employees engaged in small unregistered or unincorporated enterprises and undeclared workers.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Informal Sectors Organisation has filed an urgent High Court application to bar the government from continuing to implement an illegal lockdown.