THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has set aside US$100 000 ($1 billion) to assist informal traders affected by government’s controversial clean-up campa
The money is meant for the construction of market stalls to help informal traders revive their businesses destroyed by the widely condemned Operation Murambatsvina.
“In the short-term UNDP has immediately set aside US$100 000 to assist the informal traders initiate a process of re-establishing their livelihoods,” said the UNDP in a statement.
It said it would formulate a programme to benefit the traders based on the recommendations of UN secretary-general Koffi Annan’s special envoy Anna Tibaijuka’s report after her visit to Zimbabwe two weeks ago.
“UNDP will continue to engage the authorities on this issue to ensure that the government adheres to its international obligations as enshrined in the relevant covenants.”
The UNDP said its thrust would focuse on the medium to long-term recovery of livelihoods of the affected people.
“It is envisaged that as part of the medium to long-term programme, the United Nations and UNDP will consider providing shelter and other basic infrastructure for the affected people as well as re-building disrupted livelihoods.”
The UNDP has also sought 2 million euro assistance from the European Commission.
The money will be used to import food.
During Tibaijuka’s visit, she held several meetings with key government ministers on the operation which destroyed what government described as illegal structures and unlicensed market stalls in the city centre and poor residential areas.
Thousands of residential shelters were destroyed in combined operation of the police and local authorities. At least 300 000 people were reportedly left homeless.
Tibaijuka assessed the capacity of both the government and the civic community to respond to the humanitarian needs of the affected people.
Tibaijuka is expected to present her report to Annan any time next week.
The clean-up campaign, which was not included in this year’s budget, needs at least $3 trillion.
Last month, Vice-President Joice Mujuru admitted at a bi-annual engineers’ conference that the clean-up would need foreign assistance.
She said although government was embarking on a reconstruction programme to address the needs of those who had been displaced by Operation Murambatsvina, this would need a lot of on-site and off-site infrastructure.
Mujuru said some of the infrastructure needed include roads, storm water drainage, water, and sewerage reticulation and electrical installations.
“However, the success of this programme will again be constrained by the need to import some of the inputs,” she said. “I am informed that for the electrical reticulation of a typical residential scheme, 80% of the cost will be in the form of foreign currency. If I similarly choose another critical infrastructural component, viz sewerage treatment works, the foreign currency requirement looms large once more.
“As an example, for a biological nutrient removal (BNR), the foreign currency requirement will be 45% of the total cost. Just one BNR plant of the size that would be required at Whitecliff Farm has a foreign currency component of US$3 million,” said Mujuru.