Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCIEA) received good news from its structures that members from Hwange, Gwanda, Beitbridge, Victoria Falls, and Chinhoyi have started receiving 600RTGs cash transfer from the Government through the Ministry of Labour, Public Services and Social Welfare.
As ZCIEA, we appreciate the government’s effort in cushioning informal traders and vulnerable poor citizens whose livelihoods were and still affected by COVID-19 lockdown effects. This support is very crucial because we still have (members) informal traders who were heavily affected by COVID-19 and haven’t started working. After all, they do not have any source of income to kick start their work and even support their families.
We hope and trust this cash transfer support will be cascaded to all 10 provinces of the country which we believe this rescue is critical for many families who survive through informal economy work. This is part of the social protection scheme we are advocating for as ZCIEA and other working partners, and we desire that such a scheme should be sustainable and consistent to those in need and in times of disaster. We appreciate that a cash cushion is supposed to supplement what informal traders and their families have. The majority of traders incurred huge losses and used their capital during the lockdown, hence the need for social protection schemes to be extended to them. Some of the traders need recapitalization to survive.
As ZCIEA, we believe that the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) has a critical role to play in the extension of social security coverage to the informal economy. It also has a role to play in the promotion of occupational health and safety in the informal economy, to reduce the number of work-related diseases and accidents. Such schemes should be based on ILO best practices and should be well communicated to potential beneficiaries. Informal economy associations can play a role as both facilitators in the development of such schemes and in communicating the details to their members. Our engagement with NSSA is already yielding positive results through workplace awareness-raising campaigns.
As part of social protection for the Informal Economy, we also urge our Government together with local authorities to assist in the establishment of creches and child-care centers, including subsidizing the provision of food and toys. Without such safe spaces, children are taken to work where they are exposed to health hazards and other dangers that might affect them physically or psychologically. We trust these same facilities will support People With Disabilities and Youth to enable them to start their businesses, thereby reducing poverty levels.
This is part of the 7 thematic areas which we submitted to the Government on the proposed National policy framework on the formalization of the informal economy. Other thematic areas are (Thematic area 1) Respect for and recognition of the informal economy, (Thematic area 2) Development of Linkages between Informal economy and formal businesses, (Thematic Area 3) Market access and infrastructure, (Thematic area 4) Formalisation, (Thematic area 5) Financial Inclusion, (Thematic area 7) Devolution and they are key to SDGs and the pathway of the 2030 national agenda