‘Workspace for Hwange informal sector players a must’

22 Feb, 2024 - 12:02 0 Views
‘Workspace for Hwange informal sector players a must’ Councillor Morrison Mafa

The Sunday News

Judith Phiri, Business Reporter

THE Hwange Local Board (HLB) chairperson, Councillor Morrison Mafa has said there is need for the Council to expedite the provision of working space for informal sector players so as to maintain orderliness in residential areas while enabling the local authority to improve its revenue collection.

In the recent HLB newsletter,Cllr Mafa said over the past few years there has been a massive increase of people involved in informal businesses from their backyards.

“Backyard industries are on the rise in Hwange, with indigenous entrepreneurs seemingly recording brisk business. However, their activities aren’t permissible in residential areas, because they tend to be a health and safety hazard. They also impact negatively on the outlook of the surroundings,” he said.

He said the presence of informal businesses was notable in virtually all areas in Empumalanga, with some households being involved in various trades such as selling of clothes (both new and second hand), groceries, food takeaways, carpentry, welding, motor vehicle repairs as well as vegetables.

Cllr Mafa said as the Council, they have not done much to accommodate informal sector players, with regards to providing them with decent workspace.

“We need to do so, as quickly as possible. Continuously penalising them for working in undesignated places is not the best of solutions. Lack of workspace for informal traders is depriving the local authority an opportunity to enhance its revenue generation streams,” he added.

“Our failure to provide workspace and facilities for the ballooning informal economy has a negative impact in our revenue collection. We are continuously crying foul of low revenue collection while we are not making use of numerous strategies at our disposal to enhance our coffers.”

He said providing workspace to informal sector players was one of the many ways of regularising their operations.

In its proposed 2024 Budget, HLB has budgeted for the setting-up of a factory shell to house informal sector players, the construction of vegetable market stalls and a flea-market.

The local authority is also in the process of completing construction of its state-of-the-art Empumalanga Flea Market, which will consist of more than 150 stalls, a food court, and a kiosk, while it will also have ablution facilities.

“The project is being undertaken through the utilisation of the Devolution Funds inline with Government’s call for local authorities to channel resources from the facility towards high impact projects,” read part of the newsletter.

 

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