• August 6th, 2020

Informal sector should resume business - NISO

The Namibia Informal Sector Organisation (NISO) has appealed to the country’s lawmakers to allow the informal economy to resume their activities.

This is after the police on Monday rounded up street vendors from Havana, Hakahana and Wanaheda for violating emergency regulations. However, NISO Secretary General Kandenge Veripi says the organisation’s appeal has fallen on deaf ears. 

“We warn the Namibian government not to continue with the current harassment and evictions of the traders and vendors because they are not able to cover the cost of the informal economy related to their business, workers and even their day-to-day expenses. In time of emergency like this, we need to meet with each other (civil society and government) and work together on the interest of our people as a team. What we are witnessing now is government’s lack of strategy to address the issues of national importance, because they don’t have simple understanding of what needs to be done. We don’t understand government’s strategy of locking people in their houses without food. President Hage Geingob should give an explanation of what is happening, failing to do that, all of us will be on the street selling whether to be killed or jailed,” said Veripi. NISO has been working with Namibia’s informal economy since Independence and has decades of experience advocating for the informal economy, which is comprised of hawkers, informal traders, market traders, home-based businesses, subsistence farmers, and many other sectors earning a living outside of formal employment. According the Namibia Statistics Agency the informal sector represents almost half of all employed people in the country today.

Veripi has in the past stated that during these challenging times of Covid-19, the informal sector stands ready to work collaboratively with the government, municipalities, businesses, health professionals and regulators, other civil society actors, and all Namibians in keeping the highest levels of hygiene and safe practices, including social distancing. 

“We are committed to ensuring that our members are responsible, and considerate towards the health and well-being of themselves and the public that they serve. Our confidence in our constituency’s respect for the law and awareness of the need for good order in these trying times convinces us of the need to proactively engage with our government and the other sectors of society to protect business owners, their families, clients, and the Namibian public at large from the deadly coronavirus pandemic,” said Veripi. 
However, he admitted that informal traders need to be engaged and assisted to comply with sanitary precautions to reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19. 

NISO, in coordination with the National Alliance for Informal Settlement Upgrading and other key stakeholders in government, have also proposed a “training of trainers” strategy. Veripi says this training would include information dissemination, preventive sanitary measures, distribution of sanitary material such as masks and sanitisers, etc. to protect traders and customers during lockdown.
He suggested that the training can be implemented through capacitating a network of volunteer trainers across all regions, in collaboration with local authorities, to identify training venues such as municipal markets and trading corridors that meet the required Covid-19 requirements and precautionary standards. 

“Our proposal is to have the volunteer trainers trained by health professionals from the ministry of health, health inspectors from the municipalities, and other professionals who are involved in health and wellness. The informal economy committees will be trained and will continue mobilising communities and supply them with sanitary material for themselves and trainees. A network of trader leaders will be formed, through which sanitary material and printed information about Covid-19 prevention can be distributed in the weeks following the training,” said Veripi. 

Edgar Brandt
2020-05-13 10:02:28 | 2 months ago

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