HomeLocal NewsCorruption blights economy formalisation

Corruption blights economy formalisation

KUDZAI KUWAZA/JULIA NDLELA
CORRUPTION and lack of political will has been frustrating efforts being made towards the formalisation of the economy.

The drive to formalisation comes at a time when 86% of economic activity in the country is in the informal sector, a situation which is depriving the fiscus of much-needed funding.

At a dialogue organised by the Zimbabwe Economic Society in conjunction with International Labour Organisation (ILO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the ministry of Labour and Social Welfare on the proposed national formalisation strategy this week, participants decried the high level of corruption that has dwarfed efforts to formalise the economy.

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations president Lorraine Sibanda pointed out that corruption has had a detrimental impact on informal traders.

“The issue of corruption overshadows whatever we are trying to do. There’s a gross presence of corruption even when dealing with informal economic issues, that is, why we see this cat and mouse between police and street vendors that goes on every day, every minute. People are being harassed and violated and their goods are taken away,” she said.

“We have a high level of informality at 86% and the bigger number is women. Of late we have seen a growing number of youths (engaging in informal trade) which means that we are breeding a future generation that is hopeless and poverty stricken.”

Economist Vincent Musewe said there was no political will for the economy to be formalised as it was the political leadership of the country who were benefitting from the status quo.

“We have briefcase businessmen making millions of dollars and that has an impact on the ability of the country to put resources together so that we formalise the economy,” he said.

“There is a secret economy in Zimbabwe that is highly informal, very wealthy and is basically sucking the country out of its resources.”

The Zimbabwe Chamber of Informal Economy Associations (ZCTU) president Florence Taruvinga said the drive for formalisation will be determined by political will and the zeal to curb corruption.

“Political will by the government itself is critical if we are going to speak about formalisation of the informal in Zimbabwe. How they are going to deal with corruption in Zimbabwe will also be a determining factor as to how far we are going towards the formalisation of the informal aspect of corruption,” Taruvinga said.

“In the absence of a government having a robust approach towards corruption, we are going nowhere because everything that you are trying to put forward is being pushed backwards by corrupt activities happening in Zimbabwe.

“Those that are close to power are the perpetrators and nothing is happening. We see them moving scot free,” she added.

However chief director of Labour Administration and Employment Services in the ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Clifford Matorera, shot back pointing out that blaming government for lack of formalisation was counterproductive

“Corruption is not only at the government level and fingers should not point only on the government but everyone. What is happening is that I am also seeing a society that is even promoting corruption, so corruption in Zimbabwe is found in the business fraternity, in government and also labour,” Matorera said.

Consultant on the national formalisation strategy, Godfrey Kanyenze said the process was crucial to economic development but warned that it was not easy to turnaround the economy.

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