Why wont Ilala learn from of the Machinga Complex?

21Apr 2016
Editor
The Guardian
Why wont Ilala learn from of the Machinga Complex?

Constructed some eight years ago, the Machinga Complex in Ilala district Dar es Salaam was designed to take street hawkers from the streets and house them in that one building.

The idea is viable but only on paper, in practice, asking a street hawker to seat in one place is like asking a traveling salesman to seat in an office. They cannot because that is not the nature of their business. The street hawker, just like the travelling salesman operate in a business model that that calls for door to door direct sales techniques.

In this model, companies seek to maximize sales by taking their products to the client instead of waiting for the client to come to them. These tactics can be very cunning entailing an initial purchase of the merchandise as the hawkers capital.

After making this initial purchase, the sales persons are trained to go door to door, car to car, outside malls and by the road sides to catch clients wherever they can and present their goods.

The street hawker is the same minus the training. If we don’t want them on our streets, we should simply ban companies from selling their products to these ‘middlemen’ and without the product, they will leave the streets because they will no longer have anything to sell.

But is this what we want, all in the name of ‘cleaning our streets’? Yet we turn around and acknowledge that youth unemployment is problem and ask youth to self employ.

It cost 12.7bn/- to build the Machinga Complex but the building is now but an abandoned hghost house with few traders here and there and most of them working the pavement just outside the building, because that is the nature of their business.

Only last week, the government resolved to disband the board of directors of the complex. Minister of State in the President's Office -Regional Administration, Local Government, Civil Service and Good Governance - George Simbachawene said the decision to suspend the board of directors was based on the fact that they left the building idle, leaving the beneficiaries (petty traders) to operate outside it, defeating the very purpose of building the complex.

After years, the building has only being able to return 50m/- of the 12bn/- National Social Security Fund loan well below the expected returns which were envisioned to be fully paid by now.

Yet yesterday the Mayor of Ilala Charles Kuyeko made public plans to build two open air markets for the street hawkers popularly known as ‘machinga’.

So if the Machinga Complex failed, what will make this latest attempt to get machingas to work from one centralised location work? Why not learn from the losses incurred in the Machinga Complex that is also in Ilala?

More millions and maybe even billions will be invested in the two markets that will eventually be left idle because street hawkers cannot oeperate from one location, there business is to take the goods to the buyers wherever they are.
We want them off the streets, stop companies from giving them products.

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