The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development of Zambia, headed by Hon. Gary Nkombo, has issued a ministerial statement on the ongoing efforts to tackle street vending in the country’s Central Business District (CBD). The statement, released today, addresses the challenges posed by street vending and the government’s measures to restore order and improve public health.
Street vending has long been a prevalent activity in Zambia’s informal economy, with an increasing number of vendors seeking income opportunities. The Ministry acknowledges that inadequate trading places, coupled with ease of customer access and lack of essential services, have contributed to the growth of street vending.
The issue of street vending in Kabwe is not new and dates back to the post-colonial era. Efforts to relocate vendors to designated marketplaces were made in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, inadequate facilities and high operating fees led many vendors to return to the streets.
Various government initiatives, including the construction of the new Soweto Market and the introduction of the Street Vending and Nuisances Act, have aimed to address the problem. Despite these efforts, street vending persisted, exacerbated by a widening cholera epidemic in 2017 and 2018.
In a recent audit, the Ministry found that there are 11,039 trading spaces available, of which only 6,624 are occupied. This suggests that there are sufficient trading spaces to accommodate all street vendors.
To restore order and public health in the CBD, the Ministry directed the removal of street vendors from undesignated areas, in line with the laws of Zambia. However, stakeholders requested more time for consultations and preparation for the smooth relocation of vendors to designated trading places.
Following extensive consultations, consensus was reached among stakeholders to address street vending and restore sanity in the CBD. Consequently, the Ministry has cleared street vendors from undesignated areas and urged them to utilize available spaces in the markets.
The move aims to bring back sanity to the CBD, which has witnessed an increase in illegal activities and road infringements due to street vending. The removal of street vendors has exposed the beauty and orderliness of Lusaka, emphasizing the importance of enforcing the laws to promote a conducive business environment and safeguard public health.
The Zambian government remains committed to addressing street vending and fostering a sustainable and well-organized trading environment for the benefit of traders and the general public. As the Ministry continues to work on restoring order, stakeholders are hopeful that the efforts will lead to a safer and cleaner CBD for all residents and visitors.