Informal sector pivotal for our economy

©  EDITOR — Punishment for breaking laws is the jurisdiction of the courts. Today, many vendors have lost wares far in excess of any fine they might have been made to pay by the court.  The only word that comes to mind for this behaviour on behalf of the responsible authorities is “wicked”.

Neither government nor councils are ahead of the game or understand it. For the economy to grow we need to embrace all sectors of the economy and give the informal sector a chance to develop into the formal sector. We need to appreciate that the informal sector is an very important part of the economy and facilitate it, not trash it every time it grows. The government turns a blind eye to thugs from exploiting these vendors by charging them $10 per day to operate.

Given the destruction of the formal sector and the population growth we can expect the informal sector to be an integral part of the economy for the foreseeable future. Instead of policy makers denigrating the sector they should be looking for sensible ways and solutions to incorporate it fully into the economy. 

Shoving the vendors off the streets onto large tracts of barren land out of the way of their customers is certainly not a solution. Most developing countries coexist fruitfully with the informal sector. Until this happens, which seems unlikely, there is no prospect of the economy ever recovering. Forget it!

Factories will not just pop up because “we are open for business”. We need enabling laws to regulate the vendors and others in the informal sector being cognisant of realities on the ground. Sure it will not be easy for existing businesses in the CBD or pedestrians on the sidewalks, but this is a reality of our battered economy and we all must learn to live with it.

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