President Emmerson Mnangagwa has expressed deep appreciation for the culture of hard work, resilience, perseverance and determination among vendors in Zimbabwe in the face of economic challenges that have visited the country in the last two decades.

For a long time, the game of cat and mouse between urban councils and vendors has been a common feature as authorities face the dilemma of clean, orderly cities and allowing vendors to eke out a living.

In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Environment, Water and Climate, Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri during an interface with the vending community at the City Sports Centre in Harare today, President Mnangagwa said it is for this reason that he saw it fit to take part in the historic entrepreneurs business conference.

The gathering was aimed at affording the President an opportunity to hear the concerns of the vendors first hand and chart the way forward on how they can take part in the economic reconstruction of Zimbabwe.

He said great work awaits the government after the election in every sector as Zimbabwe has to to increase economic opportunities and to grow the economy and catch up with the rest of the region and beyond.

He said the government is committed to address challenges facing the vendors in areas that include social security, accommodation and access to funding as well as fighting corruption.

The President commended the community for embracing the use of plastic money in their transactions, adding that the government remains seized with the matter of cash challenges and is urging banks to desist from charging punitive charges for the use of plastic money.

He recommended that they use electronic money platforms that carry no extra charges.

Cde Mnangagwa also spoke about the need to improve residential and business infrastructure and to modernise existing infrastructure, saying no to land barons who have duped desperate home seekers in the past 20 years.

The President hailed the interface with vendors as the beginning of a new relationship.

“Today marks a new relationship between vendors and us. Thank you for keeping the economy afloat,” he said.

After reading the President’s speech, Minister Muchinguri answered some of the burning concerns that were brought up by the vendors.

She explained that the President recently opened two banks, to cater for women and youth empowerment, and will soon introduce command housing to address the shortage of housing.

The vendors interface was attended by representatives of vendors associations, electronic money platform service providers who included the Minister of ICT and Cyber Security, Supa Mandiwanzira, NetOne’s Chipo Mutasa, POSB representative and others.