Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
VICTORIA Falls Mayor, Councillor Somvelo Dlamini, has said local authorities need to urgently review colonial by-laws, which hinder development of ordinary citizens into businesspersons and also stifle Government’s vision for a middle economy by 2030.
Clr Dlamini was speaking at a graduation ceremony of 40 women and youths who completed an entrepreneurial training programme in self-help projects in Victoria Falls. Harare-based Progressive African Youth Network (Payn), partnered Government to train the entrepreneurs, buttressing efforts to empower small to medium entrepreneurs.
The 40 entreprenuers were drawn from Victoria Falls, Lupinyu and Jambezi and are part of the 300 that have been trained countrywide since Payn was formed last year.
They were trained in making detergents, drinks, candles, floor and shoe polish and other products.
These are meant to empower communities to become self-reliant while also helping fight domestic violence.
Clr Dlamini said the country can only develop if ordinary citizens are fully empowered.
“Thirty-nine years after independence we still have by-laws that oppress people. They were enacted by whites to stop blacks from operating and we still use them to stop people from selling their products.
“We are going to have a relook into these and realign them to empower citizens and I am going to work tirelessly to uplift you. We want to move away from the culture of women being sent to the rural areas in December to till the land and have an empowered woman who can also fend for the family,” said Clr Dlamini.
He challenged the entrepreneurs to work on increasing productivity and quality of their products to be able to capture the hospitality market.
Victoria Falls Municipality community services officer, Mrs Hannah Munenekwa, said small scale entrepreneurs face challenges in securing space to conduct their businesses.
She urged them to form groups and apply to the council for space saying their businesses were critical as they give citizens an alternative at a time when prices of basic goods are exorbitant in shops.
Her sentiments were echoed by Victoria Falls’ coordinator for the programme, Ms Annete Sithole, who said having premises will help attract a wider market for products. She said the programme will remove the dependency syndrome from people.
Payn programmes officer, Mr Leon Hove, said the goal was to empower communities to be able to produce goods locally.
“We want everyone to be able to produce something hence we decided to train trainers who will move around capacitating others. Payn is working with the Ministries of Industry and Commerce, and Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development,” he said.