Kigali City Council (KCC) has set June as the deadline for all street hawkers to operate in gazetted areas.
Speaking to The New Times, the council’s director of media and communications, Bruno Rangira, revealed that according to a census carried out last year, there were over 6,300 street vendors in the city.
“With the support of about Rwf234million from the Ministry of Labour and Public Service (Mifotra), we believe all the street vendors will have been relocated to various markets,” Rangira said.
He said city authorities have so far trained over 1,500 hawkers in business management to help them formalise their enterprises. The vendors will also be offered a one-year tax waiver.
“The business of street vending is illegal and it is in this regard that we encourage all city hawkers to abide by the rules and regulations concerning how to carry out any business activity, by being prepared to work from the mini markets which the city has prepared for them, because this will help them to improve their daily lives, socially and economically,” he said.
“When you talk about decent work, it means it should be decent, carried out in a decent place. That’s why the ministry decided to collaborate with KCC to come up with a concrete plan on how street vendors in the city can get permanent working places” said Anna Mugabo, the Director General of Labor and Employment in the Ministry of Labour (Mifotra).
She noted that relocating the vendors in the markets will help the city become cleaner and crime-free.
According to Mugabo, they were in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding with Bank of Kigali (BK) to provide the street hawkers with loans, saying it would increase their capital base, adding that the districts would be responsible for monitoring how they utilise the acquired loans.
She added that the ministry, in partnership with Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA), will train them on formation of cooperatives and making savings, adding that Mifotra would also train them in various entrepreneurship skills.
Deborah Mukanyonga, a Kigali hawker said: “I am happy that the government is organising permanent working places for us, because we have been finding it difficult to set our own targets in terms of making profits due to the problem of running up and down”.