By Munengwa Desdemona| Informal traders have lamented how the prolonged lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted negatively on their businesses with low sales and closure of Zimbabwe borders being cited as the major impediments to continued operations.
Since Zimbabwe reported its COVID-19 case in March 2020, government has been shifting from a hard lockdown to a relaxed and this has affected informal traders who thrive on daily sales to put food on the table.
One informal trader at Checheche growth point, Clara Mlambo has reported that since COVID-19 started her business has been going down as she is sometimes forced to use her capital to buy food for the household.
When the situation was normal, she would use her daily profits to buy food and re-invest the capital to keep her business running.
In an interview with Vemuganga Community Radio, Mlambo said, “since the beginning of COVID-19, my business has not been performing well, this is worsened by the fact that sometimes our wares are seized by the Council and at times the police would arrest us for breaching lockdown restrictions. This has affected me as I do not know how to fend for my family, my husband is late and I have three children who look after me.”
Another woman who sell vegetables, Rejoice Chipanera said she had to close her business in the hope that she would find a job but without education, it has not been an easy task.
She returned to her informal business but has stock has dwindled yet she does not have money to re-stock.
“These days I barely sell even USD10 and there is very low business and sometimes I would lose the few cents to the council who would be threatening to seize my order,” lamented Chipanera.
85 percent of Zimbabweans are in the informal sector and affected by lockdowns instituted by government to contain the spread of the deadly pandemic.