Vendors still hawking their merchandise on city streets have been encouraged to join their colleagues in the recently-launched markets in different parts of Kigali.
Huss Monica, the executive secretary for Gitega sector, Gasabo District, said the markets are part of efforts aimed at improving the working conditions of city traders and keeping the city orderly and safe.
She said in an interview with The New Times on Thursday that three new markets were launched in the past few months, including Kimisagara mini-market where 60 street vendors were relocated, Nyabugogo Market (with over 2,000 former street vendors) and Jya Mbere mini-market in Muhima sector, with 1,200 vendors.
However, a total of 12 markets have so far been established across the city to resettle former street vendors and other people operating in congested markets, Bruno Rangira, the city communications chief, said.
The vendors will be exempt from paying dues for about a year to help them stabilise, according to city officials.
Vendors speak out
Jeanette Niyibimenya, a vegetable vendor in Nyabugogo market, said the market has given her and other former street traders a safe place where they can conduct business without fear of being arrested by city enforcement officers.
“The market offered us a secure and permanent place where we work without fear,” she said.
“As a street hawker, I was always running from the city enforcement officers where I could sometimes lose merchandise. However, all this has changed since I started working from the market,” said Niyibimenya.
Meanwhile, Dan Muvunyi, the chairman of Ejo Heza Cooperative in Nyabugogo Market, said vendors are now organised in co-operative and can save some of their earnings compared to when they used to roam the streets and city suburbs.Muvunyi urged the vendors to work with microfinance institutions and join co-operatives to be able to access funding to improve their small enterprises.