World Fair Trade Day: Manzini Municipality’s Contribution To Trade
WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY: MANZINI MUNICIPALITY’S CONTRIBUTION TO TRADE
World Fair Trade Day is a global celebration aimed at showcasing the contribution of small-scale producers towards ensuring healthy and sustainable communities around the world. The Municipal Council of Manzini joins the global community in pledging its commitment to ensuring that trading opportunities in the city benefit all entrepreneurs, including small producers. Highlighted below are initiatives that the Municipality implements in line with the fair trade principles as identified by the World Fair Trade Organization.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SMALL PRODUCERS
It is part of the Municipality’s strategic objectives to stimulate the city’s socio-economic growth through the provision of trade opportunities in the urban area. The Municipality provides affordable trading spaces for informal traders to help them maintain respectable levels of economic self-sufficiency. The most prominent trading areas in the city include; The Trade Hub, Manzini Main Market and the Main Bus Rank Market. The Municipality also contributes towards ensuring the quality of goods produced by artisans trading in the city remains competitive and at par with international standards. This is done through product quality trainings which the Municipality facilitates in partnership with other stakeholders that have similar interests. The Municipality has a standing relationship with Eswatini Fair Trade for purposes of facilitating capacity building programmes for entrepreneurs operating in the urban space. The Municipality also works hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade towards capacitating handicraft traders in the city.
The capacity building programmes seek to empower entrepreneurs with basic business management skills, product pricing strategies and production capabilities informed by needs of end users. Through these partnerships the Municipality also facilitates market linkages whereby products produced in the city are sold to the international market. The Municipality also markets the products of artisans to tourists and facilitates visits to the trading areas around the city. The municipality also facilitates market linkages through quarterly flea markets which is an event that provides an opportunity for buyers and entrepreneurs to interact and form long term relations. The Covid-19 pandemic presented a threat to traders in the city; which led to a drastic decline in the buying and selling of goods especially those produced by small-scale producers. The livelihoods of small-scale producers in the city were greatly impacted as their incomes declined by bigger margins. Throughout this challenging period, the Municipality ensured that trading continued in the city by introducing rotational shifts where a minimal number of traders would operate each day in adherence to the national preventative guidelines.
TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
The Municipality always strives to maintain transparency in managing relations with small-scale producers operating in the urban space. It has clearly defined procedures for allocating vending spaces in the city; which are followed at all times. The Municipality also ensures participation of traders in its decision-making processes. The communication platforms provided by the organization are open to all stakeholders of the city.
In planning and implementing trade initiatives in the City of Manzini, the Municipality ensures non-discrimination and empowerment of previously disadvantaged groups. The Gender Mainstreaming Programme is aimed at promoting gender equality so that women and men have equal access to trade opportunities in the city as well as other services that shape their livelihoods. For instance, informal trading in the streets is traditionally known to be dominated by women but, through the mainstreaming programme, men are gradually taking part in this aspect of economic development. Furthermore, the programme ensures that people with disability are provided trading spaces in the city.
As the globe commemorates the World Fair Trade Day, the Municipal Council of Manzini makes a pledge to continue advocating for fair treatment of entrepreneurs and small producers in the city and to facilitate the growth of their businesses. We further make a plea to the general public to support traders and buy goods at fair prices, avoid over negotiating for reduced prices.
…MANZINI FLEA MARKET THIS SATURDAY…BUT AT TRADE HUB
Following an over a year’s break owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Municipal Council of Manzini has taken a decision to resuscitate its quarterly flea markets. This follows the national Government’s easing of the partial lockdown restrictions. The City of Manzini will, therefore, host its next flea market this Saturday (29th May 2021). However, the flea market will not be held at the usual site (Louw street, between Bhunu Mall and Eswatini Bank) but at the newly constructed state-of-the-art Manzini Trade Hub. The Trade Hub is located near the Zakhele Remand Centre traffic lights and the Municipal Council of Manzini depot. Those who are interested in selling items, including handicraft, antiques (old works of art that remain of high value because of their age), children’s toys, clothing, fine art products and many more are encouraged to register at the Municipal Council of Manzini offices, between today and Friday 28th May 2021 at 12noon. Stalls will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. The participation fee is E50 for all traders regardless of business size. This is one of the ways in which the Municipality contributes to the revival of the economy following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Members of the public are encouraged to support this initiative, visit the Manzini Trade Hub this Saturday and buy any of the variety of goods that will be on sale. Strict Covid-19 protocols will be observed during the flea market and both traders and buyers are requested to cooperate with the Municipality.
…MUNICIPALITY TRAINS FOOD HANDLERS ON GOOD HYGIENE
The Municipal Council of Manzini recently trained about 55 operators of food establishments on food premises grading. Food premises grading is a useful public education tool that helps provide consumers with information on whether or not a food establishment meets the necessary food safety requirements. Food premises grading also provides an indication on how well the food establishment has met its quality and hygiene requirements as per the Public Health (Food Hygiene) Regulations of 1973, Public Health Act of 1969 and other relevant legislation. The objectives of the training session were to sensitise business owners on specific minimum standards that must be followed in any space where food is handled, prepared, stored or offered for sale, to educate business owners on the recycling services offered by the Manzini Buy-Back Centre and how they could benefit from them, to sensitise food premises owners and managers on general waste management and the importance of waste segregation and to mobilize food premises owners towards introducing Quality Management Systems in their businesses. The businesspeople expressed appreciation of the training session and promised to strive towards compliance.
…STATUTORY COUNCIL MEETING TOMORROW
The Municipal Council of Manzini will tomorrow hold its monthly statutory Council meeting. The meeting, which will be held at the Council Chamber, begins at 6pm and it is open to members of the public. Section 15(4) of the Urban Government Act, 1969, reads: “Every meeting of the Council shall be open to the public and representatives of the press, but this subsection shall not apply to any committee of the Council or to the Council when in committee”. Members of the public, whether or not they own property in the city, are therefore, encouraged to make time and come and observe proceedings. No prior appointment or booking is required.