Re-opening of informal markets aimed at lessening burden on govt: Uutoni

 Urban and Rural Development minister Erastus Uutoni said, the decision to re-open informal markets was not an easy one, because COVID-19 is not over yet but it was prompted to lessen burden on government.

Uutoni made the remarks on Wednesday at the COVID-19 Information Center in Windhoek during a panel of discussion on the re-opening of informal markets around the country.

Most informal markets re-opened this week with new rules, after four weeks of closure due to Corona virus breakout.

Uutoni said, people have been suffering ever since the state of emergency was declared and the lock down which brought many economic activities to a standstill, and people affected the most are the informal traders who make a living from selling small merchandise like fake cakes and so on.

He said the closure of informal markets have put government under pressure to provide for all people affected by the lock down. Therefore, government have allowed the markets to re-open to lessen the burden of supporting every one, and let those that can feed themselves to make their own income.

“What prompted the markets to re-open is that, government looked at the livelihood of Namibians making a living from informal markets and allowed them to start getting something. It will lessen the burden on government from supporting everyone,” said Uutoni.

He added that the City of Windhoek needs to avail land and build another market to add to the 18 markets that exit, and the market should be in the Havana Informal settlement area because the place is overcrowded with traders squeezing themselves at one small place.

City of Windhoek mayor Fransina Kahungu said, the city generates money from informal markets through monthly rental fees which is used to maintain the markets and build other markets. She however did not reveal the amount generated from the markets, saying that she needs more time to get the right figures.

Deputy Minister of Health and Social Service Esther Muinjangue who was also part of the discussion said, the ministry will be monitoring and inspect the markets through its environmental health officials, who will also keep training and educate vendors on health matters.

Source: Namibia Press Agency