TODAY we take a look at some of the effects of the cholera outbreak on small businesses especially in Lusaka.
This follows the passing of Statutory Instrument number 79 of 2017 to control public gatherings.
We will look at its effect on street vending in the central business district of Lusaka and the economic impact it has left on small street businesses.
The outbreak of cholera in Lusaka has prompted the governing authorities to issue the SI number 79 of 2017 which restricts the gathering of more than five people in areas prone to the outbreak.
It is a well known fact that thousands of Lusaka residents who are without employment derive their day to day livelihood from street business mainly in the Central Business District (CBD).
The famous streets of Lusaka CBD, like Cairo Road, Cha Cha Cha Road, Freedom Way and Lumumba Roads, running from south to north-end or vice versa house several street vending businesses.
Some of these roads are home to stationed street vendors some of who trade on movable structures while others use floor corridors but go about their routine business.
Others, like Cairo Road, are home to several youths who are mobile on the road mostly targeting the motorists.
Most of these street vendors trade in various range of products such as food stuffs like vegetables, fruits, both dried and fresh fish, gadgets like electrical, pressing irons, radio sets, secondhand clothes and several other items.
Street vending business around the CBD in Lusaka has over several years become a source of livelihood for these thousands of people across all ages.
Stories and testimonies have been shared where some vendors have educated their children and others have built houses.
Vendors are so accustomed to the street vending businesses such that it offers them several economic problems with solutions.
The rapid spread of the cholera disease and the declaration of SI 79 by the Government left the government with no options but to swiftly move in to stop the street vending as it embarked on cleaning exercise to halt the spread of the disease.
It is important to note here that the Government had to do what it did to put a stop to the epidemic as it is a deadly one.
However, this column which looks at the interest of small businesses also looks at the effect of SI 79 on small businesses.
Although street business is not a legal business, because of its side effect like the one we are currently witnessing, the business was let to go for a long time.
The situation of street vending was for a long time left to become a source of income for several residents of Lusaka.
Given the ravages of cholera the authorities had been left with no option but to act to save lives of people.
Obviously, the move has affected the economic activities in Lusaka especially among the street vendors and marketeers.
One of the notable activities among the traders especially the women which have been adversely affected is the local scheme popularly known as chilimba also known as primitive banking.
This is where the traders have formed groups and on daily basis put together money contributed by all members who surrender it to one of them, who is due for the payment in the line.
In this way, they conquer so many economic challenges such as paying house rentals, paying school fees and buying school uniforms as their incomes are boosted.
There is one woman at the town centre who saved through this way to buy a motor vehicle.
Now in this unforeseen circumstance, the flow of economic activities has been disturbed resulting in the economic difficulties.
However, this column is not supporting street vending but rather calling upon all stakeholders including the Government to come up with a win-win way forward on the matter.
There is need to find permanent but viable places for the vendors to trade in without posing a danger to their lives or those of the residents.
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