Dar es Salaam. Petty traders, commonly known as Machingas, are now seeking an audience with President Samia Suluhu Hassan as the local authorities countrywide relocate them to new areas.
Through their association, the Machingas want to brief the President the challenges they face in conducting their businesses and how the same could be addressed.
The national vice chairman for petty traders, Mr Steven Lusinde, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that on-going operations to evict them from the areas that they currently occupy were progressing well, saying that was possible after they received notifications in advance.
President Hassan directed her lieutenants in September to find new locations for Machingas to conduct their businesses so that they stopped occupying road reserves, canals, school compounds, pavements and other restricted areas like in front of other businesses and government institutions premises.
The President’s directive was based on the fact that the presence of informal businesses amidst traders who pay tax and rent had for many years been a major concern in the business community because it created an unfair competition.
President Hassan, however, directed her lieutenants to undertake the Machinga relocation operations in a manner that causes no harm on the hawkers or other persons.
And, according to Mr Lusinde, the government has set aside Sh5 billion for improving areas for small traders so they could undertake their business in a conducive environments.
The money, he said, could help if they were to meet with the President before district, municipal and city councils started utilizing it.
“We would wish to explain our challenges and advise how the money can solve our many problems,” he said.
Explaining the chaos that occurred on Tuesday at Kariakoo, he said those who caused it were not Machingas but people who wanted to interfere in the operation. “We have told them to vacate the area voluntarily,” he said.
In Dar es Salaam, he said, there were only a few Machingas who had not yet vacated the places in areas of Kariakoo, Mbagala and Mwenge.
Their delay, he said, was due to limited space, promising that as soon as the government allocated them, they would vacate peacefully.
“For example, those at Mwenge are supposed to relocate to an area that is close to Coca-Cola Kwanza. But that place is not enough to accommodate them all,” he said.