Balance street vending with apt town planning

Monday May 13 2019

By Editor

Street vendors are a common sight in urban centres the world over, generally selling goods and/or services to the public from temporary static structures, mobile stalls or via head-loads.

They include hawkers of timepieces, mobile telephony handsets, covers and airtime vouchers, clothing, toys, household goods, cooked food, fruits, confectioneries and potable drinks.

A recent random survey by The Citizen – whose findings were published yesterday – established that vendors are fast becoming “street kings: in sprawling Dar es Salaam, home to nearly six million potential customers.

An earlier survey by the Dar es Salaam City Council revealed that more than a million people were eking out a living from street vending in 2003, about 15 years ago.

The number must have skyrocketed since then – more so especially following the recent decision by President John Magufuli to grant special identity cards (IDs) to small-scale traders, thus incentivizing otherwise jobless women and youths.

The President further directed that holders of the presidential ID cards must not be unduly taxed or harassed by city, municipal or town councils – who used to confiscate their trading tools and stocks, as well as soliciting bribes.

Fair enough – especially considering that street-vending is virtually inevitable, and that the vendors do indeed contribute to the economy, albeit also contributing to environmental pollution and congestion, while vexing big traders in their operational vicinity.

What could be done to alleviate such woes is for town planners and other regulatory stakeholders to accommodate street vendors in function town-planning policies and regulatory frameworks.

For Dar es Salaam, this is not yet late, as the Dar City Master Plan 2016-2036 is still in the works, involving as it should experts and local communities through public hearings.

INVEST IN HEALTHY LIVING

Food is among the most basic needs of human beings. For a person to be of sound health physically and mentally, one must eat a balanced diet.

Balance is the key word here. Eating too little or too much of certain types of food affects the general wellbeing of a person. This, in turn, affects the person’s general performance. The person also becomes prone to other health complications. The ultimate end is a poor quality of life.

The younger generations are even more affected by this. In order for children to grow physically and mentally healthy, they need to have a balanced diet. Food is categorised as being balanced when its constituents are of the right amount and the right composition.

Even though we are still a developing economy, the least the government should do is ensure that the people do not have to cut back on meals.

This will help the people remain healthy and bring up healthy children. Ultimately, it will translate into a healthy economy because the people will perform better at whatever work they do.

If we allow anything contrary to this, we should not expect to see the nation prosper. Nothing comes from nothing. Unhealthy citizens cannot build a strong and healthy economy, and a vibrant economy can only spring from healthy people.