Mayor-castigates-government-on-zupco-buses/ Mayor castigates government on ZUPCO buses

http://thetenacitypost.com/mayor-castigates-government-on-zupco-buses/ Mayor castigates government on ZUPCO buses
BY MICHAEL NDIWENI ON JANUARY 31, 2019
Bulawayo– The Mayor of Bulawayo has castigated central government for failure to consult Bulawayo City Council before introducing the ZUPCO mass public transport system following a crippling stay away that turned violent, destroyed property and left hundreds of people allegedly beaten and arrested by members of the security forces.

In his Facebook post he said. “For the record, the introduction of handful ZUPCO buses in the name of the so called ‘mass public transport system’ by central government without consulting the City of Bulawayo is a conflict with the city’s own elaborate transport policy and master plan.”

“Our town plans had not anticipated and did not allocate any bays to ZUPCO for picking and dropping passengers,” the Mayor added.

ZUPCO Acting CEO, Evaristo Madangwa, was quoted in the media saying that they had allocated 72 buses for Bulawayo, that will charge $1.00 for a distance less that 20kms and $2.00 for a distance over 20km. He said they had partnered with private players to bring a lasting solution to the transport challenges in the city.

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) Acting Coordinator, Emmanuel Ndlovu, said the residents had welcomed the buses.

“Residents are hard hit by the languishing economy and high costs of commuter omnibuses coupled with arrogance of touts. ZUPCO has brought a great relief to residents. However we do not have information whether it is a stop gap measure, in our view it is likely to be short lived because some of these buses already have existing routes,” Ndlovu said.

Commenting on Twitter, Mlungisi Dube, a human rights activist based in the city, challenged the Mayor ‘s sentiments.

“I think the mayor must stop being petty, they should just allocate ZUPCO loading bays. People always cry that Bulawayo is marginalized then all of a sudden, you want to make consultation an issue? Are residents not happy about cheaper transport?” he quipped.

The Zimbabwe mass public transport system collapsed about three years ago when the government deregulated urban transport system to allow anyone with a large or small vehicles to carry public transport commuters.

The introduction of these ZUPCO buses comes at a backdrop of protests that were as a result of 150% fuel price hikes that were announced by President Mnangagwa on 12 January 2019. The transport situation had spiraled out of control. Reports emerged backed by images last week from Nketa Township saying that soldiers were assaulting commuter omnibus drivers and touts for charging $2.5 for a single trip.

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Upper middle-income economy agenda 2030: Are we not inviting trouble? By Newsday – October 23, 2018

HE government’s neoliberal agenda and its target for the upper middle-income economy (UMIE) by 2030, if not handled well, might present us with many challenges that will further alienate and suffocate the poor and down-trodden.

https://www.newsday.co.zw/2018/10/upper-middle-income-economy-agenda-2030-are-we-not-inviting-trouble/

guest column Michael Ndiweni

For the benefit of those who may not have read about it, the precursor to this agenda is the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) Reform Agenda from October 2018 – December 2020 under the theme “Towards a Prosperous and Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030”.

The transitional stabilisation programme focuses on; stabilising the macro-economy and the financial sector, introducing the necessary policy and institutional reforms, to transform to a private sector-led economy, addressing infrastructure gaps and launching quick-wins to stimulate growth.

So Zimbabwe is seeking to move from what appears to be a low-income economy, which has a Gross National Income per capita of $995 or less in 2017 (Word Bank Atlas Method), to upper middle-income economy with a Gross National Income (GPI) per capita of between $3 896 and $12 055. In the world so far, there are 58 countries falling in this category.

Implications of the neo-liberal agenda

In 2017, 51% of all humanitarian funds were requested by the United Nations for crises in middle income countries (UNOCHA, 2017). Thus upper middle income economies seem to have more problems and a widening gap between the rich and poor.

For example, upper middle income countries that have wider gap between rich and poor; closer home, is the Republic of South Africa that stands out as one of the most unequal countries in the world. In 2014, the top 10% received 2/3 of national income, while the top 1% received 20% of national income (World Inequality Index 2014).

Namibia is another country that can be explored to demonstrate dangers of moving to upper middle income economy.

Outside the African continent, Brazil is another example whose income distribution has remained extremely unequal over the last 15 years, with the top 10% receiving over 55% of total income in 2015.

Based on the above, a number of questions arise, that is; Is it what we want as a country and were the citizens consulted in coming up with this economic reform agenda?

 

Many of the citizens heard about the upper middle-income economy agenda 2030 when Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube was addressing potential investors in Washington DC.

Is it the best model for our economic development, are there no other pro-poor alternatives besides going the route that appears will create problems for us?

To put these questions into perspective, World Bank (2017) notes that five billion of the world’s seven billion people and 73% of the world’s poor live in middle-income countries.

In my Ndebele language, we would say under these circumstances “LLokhu yikuzidonsela amanzi ngomsele”, meaning we are inviting problems for ourselves.

The possible problems of this economic reform agenda to the poor are;

  •  There is a likelihood that there will be displacement of people to create space for investors, particularly those in the extractives.
  • There is a likelihood of the re-introduction of modern day slavery through tax holidays and low wages.
  •  Exclusion of part of the population from the benefits of economic growth, no trickle-down effect as it seems to focus on gross national income per capita than social indicators and use of the genuine progress indicator.
  •  Corrupt tendencies on tender processes and kickbacks, particularly to those who will “facilitate” business deals for investors.
  •  Ridiculous taxation on ordinary citizens like the intermediary money transfer tax of two cents per dollar and sin tax, among others.
  • High cost of living since many public goods will be privatised as defined by the neo- liberal agenda. Government has already given some State-owned enterprises deadline to conclude their privatisation strategies.
  •  Domestic debt will continue increasing and burden the future unless the country is classified under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and get special assistance from the Bretton Words institutions.
    In my view, as a country we;
  • Need to have efficient wealth distribution and pro-poor policies.
  •  Need to have effective civil society to hold government to account.
  •  We need to have participatory planning and inclusivity of all citizens.
  •  We need to have strong institutions that combat corruption and government excesses.
  •  We need to have local resource mobilisation
  • We need to have community, private, public partnerships.
  •  We need to revitalise trade unions.
  •  We need to remodel our corporate social responsibility
  •  Need austerity measures focusing mainly on profligate government expenditure.

ILO’s way out  from rural informality

ILO’s way out  from rural informality

ILO is making strides in finding a way out on rural informality, one of the courses at the Academy on Transition from Informal Economy to Formality is proffering strategies that can be employed for rural formalization by member states. The course is interrogating conceptual linkages between rural economy and transition to formality.

It is asking key questions on why rural economy matters, how informality manifests in rural setting and states the vulnerable groups in rural economy. The possible avenues to promote rural formalization with local development strategies includes public employment programmes, sectoral approach on agribusiness and application of new technologies.

At the global level, persons living in rural areas (80%) are twice as likely to be in informal employment as those in urban areas (43.7 per cent).  The ILO Recommendation 204 states the need to pay special attention to those who are especially vulnerable to the most serious decent work deficits in the informal economy. This includes women, young people, migrants, older people, and indigenous subsistence farmers among others.

Specific drivers of rural informality range from;

  • Neglect and biases against rural areas especially in developing countries ,
  • Low public spending in rural areas, poor infrastructure,
  • Low levels of social services,
  • Weak governance and limited industrial activity,
  • Remoteness and isolation,
  • Exclusion of rural workers from labour law.
  • Underutilization of assets both human and capital, Insecure property rights
  • Weak contract enforcement.
  • Poor access to financial services.
  • Weak labour market institutions and social security systems.
  • Various forms of discrimination on gender and ethnicity.
  • Insufficient access to information and knowledge.

The ILO Academy on Transition from Informal Economy suggests a number of pathways for enhancing Social Protection and Social Dialogue. For social dialogue there is need to;

  • Create local development frameworks and action strategy plans at the municipal and village levels to translate national initiatives to actionable elements for local government and civil society organizations
  • Work with specialized agencies (e.g. government, donor) to providing technical guidance in creation local level social protection and security initiatives (e.g. employment guarantees) that are inclusive of the informal economy.
  • Carryout local level advocacy to employers the economic and social dividends that result from investing into workers’ occupational safety and health standards.

In ensuring Social Dialogue and rights, there is need to;

  • Improve policy cohesion between national and local government policy through local development frameworks
  • Strengthen organization and voice and establishing social dialogue platforms
  • Strengthen community based organizations’ ability to engage
  • Improve the quality of public-private forums and partnerships
  • Support and strengthen coordination activities between local economic actors
  • Mainstream women, minority, indigenous people, and other marginalized groups into the participation process Upholding the fundamental principles and rights at work

In order to achieve rural formalization, member states must;

  • Improve local government policies and fiscal space to allow for greater inward investments.
  • Increase the number of employment-intensive creation and maintenance projects to create jobs and supportive infrastructure
  • Strengthen the capacity and opportunities of informal workers by enhancing local public services, e.g vocational centres’, employment offices
  • Increase linkages between formal and informal economy firms
  • Map of the local economic strength and opportunities.
  • Promote local-level business environment reform.
  • Open access to productive resources.

ILO – seeks Informal Economy Transition to Formalization

By Michael Ndiweni in Turin, Italy

The International Labour Organization is currently hosting a training course on Transition from Informal Economy to Formal Economy targeting over hundred global representatives from governments, labour trade unions and informal economy civil society organizations at the International ILO Training Centre in Turin, Italy. The training began on 12 November 2018 ending 23 November 2018. The training course is anchored on ILO Recommendation 204 that seeks to facilitate the transition of workers and economic units from the informal to the formal economy, while respecting workers’ fundamental rights, ensuring opportunities for income security, livelihoods and entrepreneurship among other issues.

The course equips participants with knowledge on the transition from the informal to the formal economy as well as to engage in constructive dialogue and debate on the future of informality. Africa, Asia, South America and Europe are engaged in advanced thinking around concepts and methodologies for reducing informality in the world with Africa having the largest contingent of over fifty delegates. The training is presenting global participants with an opportunity to exchange lessons on existing practices, and to adopt or adapt lessons learnt to specific country contexts to ensure decent work for all.

Top transition to formal economy experts, statisticians and practitioners from various ILO country offices and other leading international agencies are leading the discussions. Compelling questions such as the diagnostics of informality characteristics, causes, and drivers, circumstances of informality in a national and international context have been interrogated. Global participants have been broken into thematic groups to discuss ideas around extending social protection to workers in the informal economy, dealing with formalization of employment relationship. The next days will examine how macroeconomic and sectoral policies affect informality or the transition to formal economy.

Speaking during the training a researcher from Algeria said that countries cannot integrate informal economies without the political will. While giving a contextual analysis Mr Phillipe Marcadent from ILO said “ You cannot ignore people in the informal economy because are the majority” “60% of population in the world are in the informal economy, women have worst conditions in the informal economy and need special attention, we cannot globalise informal economy because there are wide and different scenarios” he continued . Another expert, Head of Informal Economy Unit – ILO Mr Frederic Lapeyre quizzed participants on how can they make sure that people have decent work and are able to deal with structural transformation.

Some participants however challenged and questioned the motive for formalization and argued that Recommendation 204 seem to be to some extent advancing a neo liberal agenda that will be further burden workers in the informal economy who are facing with problems of declining economies particularly in many African economies.

One of the key fundamentals of Recommendation 204 is that it does not cover illicit activities, in particular the provision of services or the production, sale, possession or use of goods forbidden by law, including the illicit production and trafficking of drugs. The recommendation also does not cover the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, trafficking in persons, and money laundering, as prohibited in the relevant international treaties.

 

Can be contacted on Twitter: @mdladlaspeaks

Zimbabwe Upper Middle Income Economy Agenda 2030, – Are we not inviting trouble for our country

The government’s neoliberal agenda and its target for the Upper Middle Income Economy (UMIE) by 2030 if not handled well might present us with many challenges that will further alienate and suffocate the poor and down trodden. For the benefit of those who may not have read about it, the precursor to this agenda is the Transitional  Stabilisation Programme (TSP) Reform  Agenda from  October 2018 – December 2020  under the theme “ Towards a Prosperous & Empowered Upper Middle Income Society by 2030” The Transitional Stabilisation Programme focuses  on; stabilising the macro-economy, and the financial sector, introducing necessary policy, and institutional reforms, to transform to a private sector led economy, addressing infrastructure gaps and  launching quick-wins to stimulate growth.

So Zimbabwe is seeking to move from what appears to be Low-Income Economy  which has a  Gross NationaI  Income per capita of $995 or less in 2017 (Word Bank Atlas Method) to Upper Middle-Income Economy  with a Gross National Income (GPI)  per capita between $3,896 and $12,055. In the world so far there are 58 countries falling us this category.

Implications of the neo liberal agenda  

In 2017, 51% of all humanitarian funds were requested by the United Nations for crises in Middle Income countries (UNOCHA, 2017). Thus Upper Middle Income Economies seem to have more problems and a widening gap between the rich and poor. For example Upper Middle Income Countries that have wider gap between rich and poor; closer home is the republic of South Africa that stands out as one of the most unequal countries in the world. In 2014, the top 10% received 2/3 of national income, while the top 1% received 20% of national income (World Inequality Index 2014). Namibia is another country that can be explored to demonstrate dangers of moving to Upper Middle Income Economy. Outside the African continent, Brazil  is another example whose income distribution has remained extremely unequal over the last 15 years, with the top 10% receiving over 55% of total income in 2015.

Based on the above, a number of questions arise i.e.  Is it what we want as a country, were the citizens consulted in coming up with this economic reform agenda. Many of the citizens heard about the Upper Middle Income Economy Agenda 2030 when the Finance and Economic Development Minister was addressing potential investors in Washington DC.  Is it the best model for our economic development, are there no other pro – poor alternatives besides going the route that appears will create problems for us.  To put these questions into perspective, World Band (2017), notes that five billion of the world’s seven billion people and 73% of the world’s POOR live in middle-income countries. In my Ndebele language we would say under these circumstances “LLokhu yikuzidonsela amanzi ngomsele” meaning we are inviting problems for ourselves, has current setup failed us?

The possible problems of this economic reform agenda to the poor;

  • There is a likelihood that there will be displacement of people to create space for investors particularly those in the extractives.
  • There is a likelihood of re- introduction of modern day slavery through tax holidays and low wages.
  • Exclusion of part of the population from the benefits of economic growth, no trickledown effect as it seems to focus on Gross National Income per Capita than Social Indicators and use of the Genuine Progress Indicator.
  • Corrupt tendencies on tender processes and kickbacks particularly to those who will “facilitate” business deals for investors.
  • Ridiculous taxation on ordinary citizens like the Intermediary Money Transfer Tax of 2 cents & Sin Tax among others.
  • High cost of living since many public goods will be privatised as defined by the neo- liberal agenda. Government has already given some State Owned Enterprises deadline to conclude their privatisation strategies.
  • Domestic debt will continue increasing and burden the future unless the country is classified under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and get special assistance from the Bretton Words institutions.

 

In my view as a country we need to;

  • Need to have Efficient Wealth Distribution pro- poor policies.
  • Effective Civil Society to hold government to account.
  • Participatory planning and inclusivity of all citizens.
  • Strong institutions that combat corruption and government excesses.
  • Local resource mobilisation
  • Community, Private, Public Partnerships.
  • Revitalising Trade Unions.
  • Re- modelling Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Austerity measures focusing mainly on profligate government expenditure.

Michael Ndiweni is the Executive Director for Bulawayo Vendors and Traders Association , media scholar, also a Freelance journalist, he writes in his own capacity.

Can be contact on twitter @mdladlaspeaks.

Injiva Burial societies a business  opportunity for Zimbabweans based in SA

Injiva Burial societies can be modelled into business entities in South African and make a difference to member lives at home in Zimbabwe

I have been thinking about our people based in South Africa (injiva) and their avid love of burial societies.  They are so united, every weekend they converge at various public parks to contribute funds for funerals through their Burial Societies whilst on the other hand it is an opportunity to touch based on goings from home.

It will be interesting to know how much is the total economic value for SA based Zimbabwean burial societies. I am thinking what if they take part of their monthly/ weekly contributions and invest in viable business ideas back at home. I am just uncomfortable about their determination to invest in their death than their future, most of them young people who still have a bright future ahead of them. This will need a change of mind set and different way of doing things.

The Guardian Newspaper reports that 11.7 million South Africans attend burial society meetings every month. It asserts that there more than 100,000 burial societies across the country. This to me provides prospects for lucrative businesses if our Zimbabweans based in South Africa can get education financial literacy and entrepreneurship. Imagine many of our people do menials every day just to be able to contribute in a burial society after the death of their loved one, they have nothing to show for their lifetime contributions.

I think also networks of Zimbabweans based in South Africa must begin to dialogue on opportunities that can be explored by these burial societies. The strength of these burial societies is that they have loyal members. A burial society is community-orientated and supported and less regulated than a funeral plan. In as much as benefits can be accrued after death of the member or family member I think they can be transformed into meaningful business concerns that can cater for both the leaving and the dead.

Locally for example, Chronicle Newspaper 05 May, 2016   says that the system has worked well for many, but for some, it has been a chain of disasters. It reports that some members have been snubbed at their time of need because some had missed a single premium. Imagine if this burial society was running some business, they could have not  perhaps considered  the missed payment.

 

Vendors are not to blame for litter in cities

I will start by saying that if there is a person who is advocating for banning of informal trading they say so because they have alternative sources of income or they have good lives and formal jobs. Although I can bet they have a relative or friend who is in informal trading.

I would like to also comment on designated market places. I read some people  say vendors must go to designated sites, are you aware that the ‘designated sites’ in question for example Highlanders market (Masotsha Avenue & Fife Street) has no high human and vehicular activity.

Traders survive on human and vehicular activity. We have communicated this council and we are still waiting for their action. Some are arguing that vendors are dirty,  point on cleanliness is a responsibility for every citizen and even bigger firms discharge liquid and solid waste to water streams but still someone wants to blame vendors.

Some people here do not pay rates, they owe council hundreds of dollars thus council fails to collect litter and you blame vendors. Some of you here, your friends and neighbours do illegal dumping in undesignated sites but you blame vendors.

Some of your friends relieve themselves emkotweni (passages) in shops and you blame vendors. Government fails to provide clean water through supporting local authorities with grants to provide clean water and to also refurbish sewer system but you blame vendors and informal traders.

We have pay toilets in town, it is embarrassing that Ian Smith knew that a public toilet is a human necessity and a right to dignity. We have failed to educate our children at elementary level to know that littering everywhere is wrong and that cleanliness becomes our culture. We see grown up men and women with hairy armpits clad on  designer suits and make up eating and throwing banana peels and take away packs outside moving car windows but you blame vendors. Let us stop blaming a section of our community and be all responsible and make suggestions on what we can collectively do to keep our cities clean. We are all guilty lets us play our role in making sure that our city including others in Zimbabwe. This blame game is acceptable.