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Pick n Pay Threatens to quit
Munyaradzi Musiiwa

Pick n Pay threatens to close over vendors

Pick n Pay Gweru has written a letter to the Zimbabwe Chamber of Small to Medium Enterprises (ZCSME) threatening to close the supermarket over vendors trading on its pavement, a development which has led to some potential customers shunning the supermarket.
ZCSME deputy secretary-general Mr Rabson Hove confirmed that Pick n Pay had written a letter to the organisation threatening to close if vegetable vendors and hawkers do not vacate the retail shop’s outside pavements arguing that they were snatching customers as well as blocking the pavements.

He said he received a letter seeking the organisation to remove vendors from its pavements failure of which it would be forced to close.

“It is a Government agenda that all local authorities must provide spaces for SMEs to operate. As for the Pick n Pay issue, they were saying that it is wiser and better to close because of SMEs who are on their pavements.

“However, we are negotiating with the local authority so that SMEs are allocated a designated and a strategic place to operate.

“We are also looking at utilising space left by TM when they relocated to Meikles when they merged with Pick n Pay,” he said.

In a separate interview, SMEs Minister Cde Sithembiso Nyoni said there was a need to engage the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing so that SMEs and street vendors are allocated space and land to sell their products at designated places.

“I feel irritated when I see local authorities harassing street vendors and confiscating their goods. The local authorities are not the victims but the vendors are,” she said.

Cde Nyoni said there was a need for local authorities to find space and create designated places where these fruit and vegetable vendors could sell their products.

“There is a need to create a dialogue between my ministry and the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing on this matter,” she said.
Minister Nyoni said for as long as local authorities did not provide working spaces for SMEs, the problem was likely to persist.

In recognition of the immense potential that the sector had, the SME’s ministry has recently been on a drive to ensure that all businesses in the sector are registered.

It is estimated that 60 percent of the economy is composed of informal businesses.
Meanwhile, ZCSME seeks to engage Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for tax reviews which have threatened their viability.

Despite the dominance of the SMEs sector in the economy, most of the businesses have remained largely informal thereby limiting the sector’s contribution to the growth of the economy and revenue collection base.

Mr Hove said there was a need to put in place tax brackets depending on the size of the organisation — a situation he said would lead to the formalisation of the sector.

He said that would in turn translate to the sector contributing meaningfully to the fiscus.
“As ZCSME we are saying there is a need for a policy review because they are rather too high and too many taxes.

You will find that Zimra has its own taxes and local authorities have also their own taxes which make the cost of doing business to be high,” said Mr Hove.

He said the taxes had made it difficult for the SMEs to formalise because they constituted a huge chunk of their revenue.

“Therefore, formalisation should lead to compliance in terms of settling statutory obligations and this needs to be reviewed downwards if SMEs are to contribute meaningfully. At the moment the sector is reluctant to formalise to evade the high taxes,” he said.

Mr Hove said the chamber would together with the Minister of Small to Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development, Cde Nyoni, meet representatives of Zimra and Ministry of Local Government.
Pick n Pay Threatens to quit

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