A new market with capacity to accommodate over 2000 vendors was launched over the weekend in Nyabugogo, Nyarugenge District targeting street vendors. The new facility pushed the number of such markets constructed in the three districts of Kigali to 12.
The aim of this initiative by the City of Kigali is to ensure that vendors get off the streets and work under an organised environment to ensure quality of the merchandise, proper hygiene, among other benefits.
However, despite these efforts, many street vendors are still reluctant to leave the street, and are always engaged in run-ins with the authorities. As a result, many lose their merchandise or it’s damaged in the process.
There is no excuse whatsoever for a trader to operate on the streets yet many of the markets have free space. Besides, the vendors who opt to operate in these markets are exempted from paying rent and all kinds of taxes for a year.
This should motivate the street vendors to embrace organised trade. Street vending is a risky and illegal business. There is need for continuous sensitisation of both the buyers and the vendors about the dangers of selling and buying things on the street. If people stopped buying from vendors on the street, the vendors would eventually move to the designated markets.
Vendors also need to know that under organised markets, they stand a better opportunity to grow their businesses. The markets come with several advantages like being able to form cooperatives, pooling resources and accessing finance. This cannot be achieved through street vending.
Organised markets are an empowerment tool and the vendors still on the street should embrace them. Local leaders and other actors should do more sensitisation to encourage the street vendors to go off the street. After all, the new markets represent a win-win for all involved.