JB meets leaders of Lilongwe vendors, to open office for their association

President Joyce Banda has directed the Ministry of Local Government and Lilongwe City Council to provide vendors with an office where they should be transacting their office work.

The directive comes after vendors on Thursday had an audience with the president at the State House in Lilongwe where among other issues, they asked for more trading space for business operators and business training for vendors.

Speaking to the press, Minister of Local Government, Grace Maseko who attended the meeting which was held in camera said vendors wanted to inform the President on how they managed to convince their fellows to move out of the streets and at the same time spell out their plans.

“This is the second time Lilongwe vendors are having an audience with the President, the issues they brought to the Malawi leader included the need for vendors to be considered for business trainings and also to be empowered through provision of loans and other business services.

Lilongwe women vendors representative Ethel Soko presenting a mothers day wraper (chitenje) to mrs Joyce Banda after their meeting at the new state house-Pics By Lisa Vintulla

“The president has responded positively to their plea and she has tasked my Ministry together with the City Council to have their Associations registered and have an office where they should be transacting their office work,” explained Maseko.

James Yerayera Soko, Chairperson of the Association said upon fulfilling government’s wish of stopping illegal vending in the city of Lilongwe, his team decided to meet the president and report on the current situation.

He said the Association also wanted to inform the President Banda about the challenges they are facing in the course of doing their business and asked for the assistance.

Soko commended the president for tasking the ministry of local government to provide them with space.

“Our genuine reason for coming here was to inform the president on the sporadic operations we are carrying to ensure peace and stability in the city and in our markets and also state our plans for a better city. This is a capital city and vendors need to behave in respect to that.

“We have asked for an office and the President has assured us. We have therefore assured the president that we will do all our best to ensure that whatever government wants us to do is done in accordance with government wish,” Soko said adding the meeting by the president was part of cementing the relationship between government and vendors.

Since government directed that vendors be moved out of streets, Lilongwe Vendors under the leadership of the new Association seem to have obeyed the order.

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