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Vending On The Rise In The Midst Of The Pandemic

By Shingirai Vambe

Harare- Zimbabweans find a way out in fighting hunger and poverty in the middle of economic and political crisis, through vending.

Only but as a last resort majority of people in Harare, have migrated to boot selling and vending of vegetables and other perishable products as a measure to curb hunger and poverty during the indefinite lockdown period.

Registered businesses are struggling to make ends meet due to low business up take in the central business district of Harare and other provinces, 80% of the customers are staying at home with the improved business approach, some are doing door to door product delivery.

Yes the poor are not spared, half packed basic commodities (Katsaona) are found within the communities and house based markets to meet the demand of those with affected income, with those living in South Africa having decided to stay put and ignore the Covid-19 situation surviving through gambling and betting to pay their rentals.

Post On Sunday however decided to do a snap survey on the current business position and found out that money, USD and Bond Notes are now circulating around and within the people with the government being left out following the closure of agent lines and stringent measures in both banks and money markets trading.

The idea being that of fighting inflation and maintain the exchange rate which was going up on a daily basis due to demand while the reserve bank introduced an auction system which has seen some positive moves in reducing bank balances and USD – bond/RTGS exchange rate which is currently at USD $1: RTGS $85

With the high increase of community vending markets and a reduction in Ecocash 2% tax, Zimra is still meeting its target?
Head Corporate Communications officer, Francis Chimada told this publication that “There was no discernible impact on tax revenue collections from the closure of agent lines”

Chimada added that the revenue Authority is still meeting its target.

Renowned economist, John Robertson told Post On Sunday that though government is claiming to have met the target, it got a boost from Pay As You Earn.

“The figure for the first two quarters of this year show that government was getting revenue boost from PAYE increase as wage increases moved workers into higher tax bracket, plus company profits”

He was however optimistic of the auction system which he described and said if the exchange rate becomes more stable and if the currency auction gradually eliminates the black market we might see the government revenue growing faster than inflation, he said.

With high rate of unemployment, how could informal traders be in a position of remitting their taxes? A long walk towards victory with the current political crisis in the country, citizens are not certain with the turn of events, money is moving and circulating in the hands of many and Zimra is fully aware of business operators who are remitting RTGS while selling their goods in US dollars and SI 185 does not state but permits business to offer goods and services for sale and receive payments in foreign currency.

On a virtual meeting which was held two days ago, Zimra acknowledged the fact that they are technological issues on that matter.

“Business situations are quite varying but it appears some fiscal devices are not compatible with dual pricing and therefore require configuration. Therefore while the configurations are being carried out Zimra suggests that businesses can use two separate devices, one for forex and the other for local sales”.

On the Mid-term monetary policy, Reserve Bank Of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mangudya said Agent wallets are no longer serving any legitimate purpose and were now being used for illegal foreign exchange transactions.

he further added that Agents’ mobile money wallets are therefore abolished with immediate effect, while edging banks to to adhere to the requirements to open domestic FCA accounts to enable the public sector to access their US allowances