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INFORMAL ECONOMY FORMALISATION IN ZIMBABWE UNDER NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK THEME 1: RESPECT FOR AND RECOGNITION OF THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

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.

2. Dialogue with all Stakeholders to Create an Awareness of Informal Economy Issues

Representatives of the informal economy should be included in all national platforms for dialogue and policy development, to ensure that the voice of the informal economy is heard and that the informal economy is part of an inclusive decisionmaking process. This is particularly important when policy and decisions are made that directly affect the informal economy. “The informal economy must be at the table, not on the table”.

3. Development of a National Strategy on the Informal Economy

It is essential that the economic and social importance of the informal economy to the nation be recognised by the Government of Zimbabwe, as well as by all other stakeholders including local authorities and the private sector. To achieve this a separate ministry or department with responsibility for policy on the informal economy should be established. It must be realised that there is a difference between Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the informal economy. While some SMEs are in the informal economy others are formal businesses. In the informal economy seven out of eight individuals or micro-businesses are survivalist in nature. Their needs are different to the needs of SMEs and different policies are required to meet these different needs. Only one-eighth of informal economy businesses can be considered entrepreneurial in nature.

This ministry will be responsible for the development of a National Strategy on the Informal Economy, based on this Policy Framework.

4. Advocate for Equal Rights for Informal Economy Workers and Against Violence Due to the conflictual nature of the current relationship between government and the informal sector in Zimbabwe, there is a need for constructive and formalized dialogue. Through this government should recognize and respect the informal sector through enabling its meaningful involvement in policy discussions as well as operational frameworks. There is a need to identify what is disrupting the relationship with Government so that the informal sector can speak with one authentic voice.
Many workers in the informal economy represent marginalised and vulnerable groups, such as People with Disabilities (PWDs). It should also be noted that approximately 70% of informal economy workers are women and that youth also comprise a substantial proportion of informal economy workers. Policies and strategies for the informal economy need to take these matters into account. Where facilities are made available for informal economy workers and businesses by local authorities, for example, it is necessary that these facilities cater for the specific needs of women and PWDs. When social protection schemes are devised that include the informal economy the needs of these groups must be included in such schemes. This applies to all policies and strategies for the informal economy.

Informal economy workers are not criminals and have the right to decent livelihoods and freedom from violence and harassment. The provisions and terms of ILO Convention C190, as approved by the ILO at the 108th ILC session in Geneva on 21 June 2019, on violence and harassment in the world of work should be adopted by the Government of Zimbabwe as providing the basic principles for fair and just treatment of informal economy workers.

5. Create Improved Public and Government Awareness of Informal Economy Issues

A national awareness campaign for the informal economy will be initiated. Representatives of the informal economy will continue advocacy and dialogue with key stakeholders, including Parliamentary Portfolio Committees and local authorities.

There is an on-going need to create awareness of the informal economy, particularly amongst government ministries, departments and agencies. This can be done through:

i. Media. A multimedia approach incorporating traditional and modern media platforms;

ii. Civil Society. Building a coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to support advocacy and awareness raising efforts;

iii. Churches. Engaging alliances such as the Heads of Denominations;

iv. Government Ministries. Engaging government ministries and agencies through dialogue and meetings.

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INFORMAL ECONOMY FORMALISATION IN ZIMBABWE UNDER NATIONAL POLICY FRAMEWORK THEME 1 – RESPECT FOR AND RECOGNITION OF THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

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