The Objective of this Theme is to create an improved legal and policy framework that recognises and addresses the reality of the informal economy and those working in it. 1. Review and Update Current Laws Affecting the Informal Economy There is a need for all legislation, regulations and by-laws that affect the informal economy to be reviewed and amended where necessary to ensure that they reflect the best interests of the informal economy. At a national level Parliamentary Portfolio Committees will be asked to take on this task. Local by-laws will have to be reviewed by the relevant local authorities.
ZCIEA has been advocating for the recognition of the informal economy since 2017 when the organisation developed 4 Policy position papers which were used as an advocacy tool. During the Launch of the 4 Policy Position paper, ZCIEA made an effort to come up with the informal economy coalition with other informal economy organizations like Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA), Vendors Initiative for Social Economic Transformation (VISET), Women Alliance of Business Association of Zimbabwe (WABAZ) and Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA) to strengthen the voice of Informal economy and influence policy change. The Coalition (Informal Economy Agenda) conducted series of advocacy engagements with policymakers to influence policy change and formalize the informal economy to improve the lives and working conditions of informal workers and traders in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations through National Policy Framework for Informal Economy has been advocating for appropriate government policies that facilitate the development of synergies/linkages between Informal economy and formal businesses. Even though the government is yet to develop a policy that facilitates the development of linkages between the informal economy and formal businesses, ZCIEA Harare territorial women’s group managed to create supply linkage with a big formal institution (name withheld). This women’s group (12 members) received funds from the ZCIEA Resilience Building program to initiate projects of their choice. They decided to do a poultry project. They kicked off their project with 250 broilers, which grew well and reached 4 weeks without complications.
PRESS RELEASE 1 July 2021 ZCIEA Applauds COVID-19 Vaccination Program that Target Informal Economy Workers and Traders as Safety Measures at their Workplaces. The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) appreciates the pronouncement by the Government on the 24th of June 2021 that the Informal Economy should be vaccinated to ensure their safety and curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) has embarked on a food support program by distributing Food Hampers to its worst vulnerable members countrywide. The program started on the 19th of June 2021 and is targeting a total of 460 worst affected members across 46 Territories in the country. The goods in supply are valued at US$5 000,00.
In response to the grievances of Informal workers, ZCIEA developed a policy document on formalizing Informal economy activities. It is therefore crucial that our members are enlightened and educated on formalization which feeds into National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and Vision 2030. Despite the challenges encountered by the informal economy workers, formalization can actually be a key lever for reframing and support the human rights of the vulnerable informal economy workers. The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy conducted online membership awareness training on seven thematic areas of formalization from the 14th to the 16th of June 2021. The seven aspects or themes the facilitators touched on for the training included Respect for and Recognition of the informal, Development of Linkages between the informal economy and formal businesses, Market Access and Infrastructure, Formalization, Financial Inclusion, Social Protection an Devolution. The training covered 12 territories namely, from Chitungwiza, Marondera, Bulawayo, Harare, Chinhoyi, Chipinge, Chimanimani, Karoi, Gwanda, Mutare, Rusape and Chivhu, each territory consisting of 15 ZCIEA members. In a period of 3 days 180 (102 women, 34 men, 36 Youth & 8 PWD) members were equipped with knowledge on what formalization is and its impact on them as informal traders and workers.
On the 11th and 15th of June 2021, ZCIEA National President/ StreetNet International President Lorraine Sibanda Ndhlovu addressed the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference (#ILC2021) where she advocated for universal Social Protection for all, social dialogue with workers in the informal economy, and progressive and sustainable financing of social protection that is inclusive
Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) is deeply saddened by the horrible, inhuman, and ruthless destruction of informal workers and vendors’ stalls along road servitude in Harare and Chitungwiza by the local authorities and the Zimbabwe Republic Police. As an organization that works with and represents informal economy workers across the country, ZCIEA sees this action as a silent form of harassment and torture of citizens who depend on informal economy work for survival. The rise of violence and harassment of informal workers and traders at their work is very disheartening in Zimbabwe.
Rusape is characterized by the following multitudes of operational challenges for workers and traders in the informal economy: vendors are facing a lot of arrests, harassment, confiscation of goods and not having their goods back even after paying fines, auctioning of vendors goods by Zimbabwe Republic Police using disposal order format and unwelcoming response for negotiations. There is no industry in Rusape and informal economy trading is the only means of survival for informal traders. According to ZCIEA members in Rusape, COVID-19 affected their livelihoods and have not recovered to this day and this the reason why Informal economy workers and traders seek attention of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees to assist in harmonizing this hostile environment they are operating under.