By Minenhle Moyo
It is without a doubt that the informal sector has been dominant and has contributed a substantial percentage of income in the country’s gross domestic product.
As such informal traders have called for respect, recognition and financial assistance in their line of trade.
Just like any other businesses, informal traders need incentives and grants to expand their businesses.
Jacqueline Ndlovu an informal trader in Bulawayo says it is hard for informal traders especially cross border traders in that they incur high cost during the process of importing goods for resell.
“The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority does not have a package for informal traders in terms of tax and duty fees. They only give incentives to bigger businesses and other registered importers but do not have a particular incentive for us informal traders,” she said.
Informalisation of the economy is a pattern in Africa and it is important to recognise the sector, capacitate it and provide it with financial assistance.
Some of the informal traders bemoan the tax fees charged by the government saying that the presumptive tax they pay is rather not fair as it is set on assumption basis.
Tynie Shoko a local hairdresser says:“I find this tax system unfair because the amount of income that I make monthly is not the same, at times I can make less money that will make it hard for me to comply with government policies’.
A ZIMRA official Mr Privilege Zvamanwe concurred adding that there is need to change the way of taxing in order to accommodate informal traders as well as create room for growth in their businesses.
Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association Director Mr Michael Ndiweni acknowledged that informal traders need financing as such’ we urge them to desist from relying on loans from micro-financiers but come up with alternative sources of finance such as creating their own saving schemes in groups’.
In as much as informal traders could lobby for more favourable tax policies, create their own savings schemes, government need to recognise them through creating policies that will result in the provision of grants as well as incentives in order to expand their businesses.