The Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders Association (ZCBTA) has expressed concern over government’s failure to improve the ease of doing business for the informal sector.
Speaking at a workshop to capacitate cross border traders, ZCBTA Secretary General, Tawanda Augustine accused Government of failing to provide incentives for the informal sector particularly cross border traders.
“It is disheartening to note that the Government fails to provide the necessary incentives to the informal economy despite the fact that 85 percent of the micro and small medium enterprise are in the informal sector and contribute to 90 percent of employment opportunities” said Tawanda
He highlighted that the policy framework had impacted negatively on gender empowerment.
“This lack of responsive policy framework has serious negative impact on gender empowerment, employment creation and sustainable livelihoods which in turn threatens the government’s national vision of achieving the middle income status by 2030”
Tawanda underlined constraints in the supply of foreign currency to the sector and called the Ministry of finance to allow traders to use the forex they generate.
“In view of the forex supply constraint bedeviling the economy, free funds in the hands of cross border traders should be harnessed to increase productivity and enhance economic recovery through developing appropriate incentives.
“The Ministry of Finance should allow local traders to access goods at export preferential pricing using the forex they generate. Denying the Zimbabwean traders incentives which are enjoyed by foreign traders from the whole region is not only discriminatory but makes local traders noncompetitive in the region” Tawanda said
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture and of Industry unnecessarily restrict trade through permit requirements.
“The Ministries of Agriculture and of Industry unnecessarily restrict intra-regional trade through control of goods permits which require individuals to go through lengthy and costly process. These ministries can easily reduce cost of doing business, increase inter regional trade as well as increase uptake of the Simplified Trade Regime by simply deploying bulk permits at border posts for the exclusive use by organised cross border traders” he said
Among other things Tawanda called on the Ministry of Home Affairs to expedite the issuance of passports as well as improve the delivery of border passes to help locals in border communities to do their business across borders efficiently.