Flea markets, hair salons net $350m

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s flea markets and hair salons are proving to be a safe haven for the country’s unemployed with the retailing sector raking in over $350 million annually, a recent study has shown.

According to Zimstat, in its Survey of Services Report 2013, the country has about 27 871 flea markets and 3 052 salons operations.

“Harare province had the largest proportions of both flea markets and salon operators constituting 25 percent and 19,8 percent respectively…The value and percentage distribution of income in flea markets and hair salons classified by income indicated that total income realised in flea markets was $337,7 million compared to $21,2 million in hair salons,” read part of the report.

The two sectors jointly employed 9 253 employees in the period the study was undertaken, with the figure expected to have gone up as the economy informalised driven by company closures and massive job cuts.

Most business owners, working proprietors/active business partners and unpaid/contributing workers in flea markets were recorded in Harare, with 3 655 male owners and 4 283 females.

In terms of number and percentage distribution of flea markets and salons classified by area, urban areas accounted for 89,4 percent of flea markets and 92,4 percent of salon establishments.

As shown by the data agency in its report, flea market expenditure, excluding employee compensation, amounted to $147,8 million compared to $5,9 million in hair salons.

During the period under review, flea markets imported goods valued at $3,5 million as salons imported goods valued at $1 515 as a total of about $1,8 million was paid in both sectors.

“No value of exports of goods or services was recorded in both flea markets and hair salons. Licenses, permits, carbon tax, levies and other taxes on production constituted a higher proportion of 74,2 percent in flea markets while value added tax constituted 58 percent of the taxes paid in hair salons,” Zimstat said.

The study highlighted that the total value for changes in stock for flea markets was a negative $1,6 million while that for salons was also a negative $15 630.

While in terms of value and percentage distribution of expenditure on fixed assets hair salons reported a gross fixed capital formation value of $56 163 while flea markets reported none.

The figures come as the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe recently estimated that over $7 billion of the cash in circulation is in the informal sector. To tap into this market, the central bank is implementing a financial inclusion strategy to have the cash in the formal system.

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