Thursday 26 October 2017


Outspoken Manicaland Provincial Affairs minister — Mandiitawepi Chimene — has revealed that she feared losing her job during President Robert Mugabe’s recent Cabinet reshuffle due to the rampant smuggling of second hand clothes coming through her province.

The forthright Chimene also said government needed to do more for the Small to Medium Enterprises sector, including vendors, as they had become part of the economy despite being in the informal sector.

Speaking at an event organised by the National Social Security Authority (Nssa) to provide social security for the informal sector, Chimene said the second hand clothes that had flooded almost every province in the country, were finding their way through Manicaland.

“All bales are coming into the country through Manicaland. I even feared that in the reshuffle, I would be kicked out for failing to stop them.

“I’ve never seen any bale but there are so many . . . Vendors are selling illegal imports. We should rather first arrest them before we even do anything.

“We should first deal with the legality of their wares before we should even look at their selling points,” Chimene said.

She challenged Nssa to build infrastructure for informal traders across the country to avoid them engaging into running battles with police over selling their wares in undesignated areas.

“We are government to give service to the people . . . We need to learn from China which built a huge 5-kilometre stretch market that houses various business enterprises. I want Nssa to build that market.

“We are now subjecting our people to being street vendors. We have removed the dignity from our people yet we have authorities that have the money. You can build us such a market — we have these people to take care of,” said Chimene.

“Where is their security if they are exposed . . . and their wares confiscated? These are the people who are now anchoring the country’s economy.

“Internationally, SMEs are now recognised because they are now in charge of the economy. How can you have vendors in charge of the economy? ” she asked.

Chimene said the informal sector should also be encouraged to bank but that depended on the banks assuring them they would get their money whenever they needed it.
“We also need to convince them to bank and then also allow them to also access their money when they want it.”

Zimbabwe has over six million people trading in the SMEs sector controlling over $5 billion mostly cash transactions, according to statistics.


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