Tourism and Arts Minister Sylvia Masebo says President Michael Sata has continued to protect street vendors because they gave him a mandate alongside other Zambians to
lead the country.
Ms Masebo however, called on street vendors to make President Sata’s job easier by working with government and embracing measures aimed at restoring sanity on the streets.
She said government was not the best employer but was there to create an enabling environment for small and medium businesses to thrive through various empowerment programs.
Ms Masebo said this in Livingstone today when she addressed street vendors at the Museum Hall.
“It is not difficult for you people to get loans. That is why we have the Citizen Economic Empowerment Commission Program which is meant to benefit you but as Patriotic Front we suspended it because the MMD was using it to empower rich and politically connected people,” she said.
Ms Masebo challenged the vendors to aim high and dream big if they expected to graduate from their current trade to managing small and medium businesses.
And the United Street Vendors Foundation in Livingstone commended government for engaging them in finding a lasting solution to street vending through empowerment programs and employment opportunities.
Foundation Secretary, Patrick Mubanga said vendors wanted to partner with government as this would enable them graduate to the level of being small and medium entrepreneurs in tourism and commerce.
“As vendors we want to stop what we are doing now and graduate to the level of being small and medium entrepreneurs in tourism and commerce,” said Mr Mubanga.
Mr Mubanga told the minister that his 200 members wanted to be actively involved in cultural activities and business ventures within the tourism industry.
He said most industries had died in Livingstone resulting in high unemployment and poverty levels which in turn increased street vending in the tourist capital.
Mr Mubanga however, said his Foundation would work hard and ensure it helped the country successfully host the 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly next year.
“We are going to work hard and assist you to host a very successful and crime free 20th Session of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) General Assembly next year,” he said.
The Tourism Minister, her Deputy David Phiri, Permanent Secretary Charity Mwansa, Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) Executive Director Felix Chaila and other senior officials in the tourism industry were in Livingstone for four days to inspect tourism sites.