Zimbabwe’s leading manufacturing and retail shoe company Bata has expressed concern over informal traders who are now selling cheap, shoes in front of their outlets.
By Kelvin Kasiwulaya
Bata Managing Director Mr Simon Mtisya said the company is facing competition from imported cheap rubber and plastic shoe products. However, the menace of informal traders who sell their merchandise in front of their outlets is a cause for concern.
He said local authorities including the City of Gweru should take action and protect the company against informal traders who have set up vending sites in front of their outlets.
The call comes at a time when illegal vendors have invaded pavements and shop verandas selling similar but cheap quality merchandise as those in the formal sector.
Vendors in most cities are seen selling shoes, clothes, and groceries at formal businesses that pay taxes and rates, with little done by authorities to protect the business sector.
“We are facing increased competition in the informal market. If you go around our stores you find people placing shoes in front of our shops and it’s a cause for concern for us.
“Our stores are located in high traffic locations and we pay a premium for that and our stores have been there for many years now, we created goodwill. We need to be ring-fenced against informal traders who are using our goodwill to their own advantage,” said Mtisya.
City of Gweru’s Public Relations Officer Ms Vimbai Chingwaramusee said the council was tirelessly working on encouraging informal traders to sell their wares in designated areas.
“We are encouraging informal traders to sell their wares at designated areas, however, when we do that, we often hit a brick wall, and we end up using force which is not something we enjoy doing. Henceforth we continue to call upon informal traders to legalize their operations and sell their wares at designated areas,” said Chingwaramusee.
Unfair competition from the informal sector is viewed as having a negative impact on the firm performance of formal enterprises.
Informal enterprises thrive on evading taxes, social insurance contributions, health, and safety legislation out-competing formal sector entrepreneurs on price.
Bata was established on the 21st of September 1894 in Czech Republic, currently the company operates in 70 countries globally. In Africa the leading shoe manufacturing company operates in 7 countries including Zimbabwe.#The Sun