Wednesday, 14 March 2012

LFDC- DRCongo: New Manifesto document handed over to Kinshasa authorities

On 5th February 2012, representatives of the StreetNet affiliate, the League for the Rights of Congolese Women (LFDC) handed over a copy of the "Manifesto of Informal Sector Traders in the DRC" to the Bourgmestre (Mayor) of Kinshasa.
Anne Matondo hands over the New Manifesto to local authorities
Meeting with the trade union centre UNTC
The LFDC has also given copies of the New Manifesto to the market administrators, and the local authorities in the different communes of Kinshasa.  There were also meetings with the two trade union centres to hand over the New Manifesto. The LFDC has also organised information sessions in different markets about the New Manifesto.

The New Manifesto was drawn up following a survey of 10 markets based in 9 communes of Kinshasa. The first step was to identify 10 vendors who were interested in participating in the campaign. They took part in a training session to draw up the questionnaire and to agree survey techniques.  The survey was then conducted in the markets, and 100 questionnaires were completed.  There was then another workshop to pool all the answers to the survey and to develop the main demands which formed the basis of the New Manifesto document.
Information Session about the New Manifesto

While carrying out the survey, the LFDC counted also on the support of the Coalition of Women for Peace and Development (CFPD) and the National Initiative for Sustainable Development (INADED).

Key Issues

The key issues included in the New Manifesto are:

Illegal and corrupt practices and harassment of vendors: illegal demands for taxes; existence of multiple tax authorities such as hygiene inspectorate, police, customs, fire services, environmental authorities; the harassment of immigration officials and frontier police; illegal confiscation of goods; sale of false documents which are not recognised by the State.

Difficulties encountered during work:
Fluctuating prices; lack of capital, devaluation; electricity cuts; high transport costs; delays in delivering merchandise; fraud; theft;  lack of storage space; exposure to bad weather conditions; lack of payment to police and civil servants resulting in begging and reducing customers' purchasing power;
Street vendors in Kinshasa suffer from a  tax jungle warfare
Demands to the authorities:
Fixing a regular price for taxes;reduce the number of taxes; regular payment of civil servants and police forces; implementation of fiscal laws; regular supply of electricity; ensure safety and security in markets; determine which authority is competent to collect which taxes; determine the respective role of the migration police, the municipal police and hygiene inspection services; set up a committee to follow-up on demands;

The Manifesto also includes a list of other recommendations to improve the working lives of market and street vendors.  The LFDC will continue to lobby the authorities to set up a dialogue committee with them.

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