President Samia puts smiles on ‘Machingas’

President Samia puts smiles on ‘Machingas’

A RAPTUROUS praise greeted President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s 10m/- pledge for each region in support of petty traders’ activities across the country yesterday.

Hundreds of leaders of petty traders’ associations, who gathered for a symposium at Jakaya Kikwete Convention Centre in Dodoma, burst into cheers after the Head of State made a surprise phone call, saying the State will dish out 10m/- to each region to facilitate their operations.

The President phoned the Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Needs, Dr Dorothy Gwajima, who officiated training for the leaders, and spoke to the crowd through amplified volume from the minister's phone.

The training on leadership and business opportunities was broadcast live.

President Samia’s pledge was a response to speech by the deputy secretary general of Federation of Hawkers Associations (SHIUMA), Mr Joseph Mwanakiniji, in which he highlighted myriad challenges affecting petty traders, including inadequate financial muscles to run their offices, unhygienic environment and lack of capital.

The SHIUMA leader also cited lack of markets, limited skills and expertise, lack of financial literacy, infrastructure and proper housing facilities, as among their major challenges.

President said the government was determined to solve challenges hampering the operations of petty traders.

"After following up the challenges which have been outlined, I applaud the Minister for Community Development, Gender, Women and Special Needs, Gwajima for granting you an office in a public building.

"I have also learned of the challenge regarding the operationalisation of office for two years...in the coming financial year which starts in July 2022, the President Office will disburse 10m/- to all petty traders’ associations in each region," said President Samia amid a thunderous applause.

Dr Gwajima whose ministry is responsible for running the affairs of petty traders applauded the President for her vision in creating a conducive business environment for traders including the group in the country.

As such, the minister called upon the small traders to exploit the available opportunities and bring the much-needed impact to the economy of the country.

"Statistics from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Report on employment in 12 African countries indicate that only 20 per cent of youths have formal employment, while 80 per cent are self-employed with the majority engaging in petty businesses," stated Dr Gwajima.

According to her, the President attached greater importance to the group, pointing out that the government had embarked on the improvement of 1,676,000 petty traders’ identification cards to boost their status.

On the other hand, she called upon the group to utilise the opportunities presented by the tourism and investment promotion Royal Tour documentary and boost their incomes.

The minister also directed the Permanent Secretary of the responsible ministry, Dr Zainab Chaula to mobilise funds which will see to it that the Petty Traders Day becomes a reality.

On her part, a Member of Parliament, Ms Neema Lugangira, noted that through the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Services and Community Development they will support the government in overcoming the challenges facing petty traders across the country.

For his side, Dodoma Regional Commissioner, Mr Anthony Mtaka urged petty traders’ associations to utilise the money pledged by the President as intended and avoid any misunderstandings which may arise due to availability of the funds.

"My appeal to the petty traders’ associations is to use the money wisely in carrying out their activities...don't allow your offices to be used negatively, each one of you should work hard to grow. You should enroll yourselves into social security and health insurance funds for your own safety and security," stressed the RC.

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Author: Maureen Odunga

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