BY PRAISEMORE SITHOLE
EXPENSIVE trading licences and too many regulations are forcing informal sector traders to resort to operating illegally, a study by the Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association (BVTA) has revealed.
The study on the city’s informal economy also revealed that most informal traders live on as little as US$50 per month.
BVTA spokesperson Kwanele Moyo said: ‘‘The study revealed that most informal traders do not know the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) and local authority by-laws. It also revealed that most informal traders make less than US$50 per month.
‘‘They are also failing to get licences due to long and tiresome procedures as well as exorbitant fees. There is lack of financial capacity to expand their businesses as many vendors rely on profits to survive. Their businesses are stuck in the same place for years. The expensive licences for small businesses make it difficult to adhere to government regulations.”
Moyo said vendors dodged authorities because operating formally was not profitable.
‘‘There is a lot of competition in the sector. Many said they did not know if they were eligible to apply for loans since they had no payslips. Traders said they used foreign currency to purchase raw materials.
“It is really difficult for them to make ends meet. They do not have foreign currency to order wares, yet people buy from them using bond notes,” Moyo added.
The study seeks to provide a broad understanding of the informal economy in the country, and also identify the barriers and opportunities for entry into the formal sector.