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Govt working on initiative for street hawkers: SAPM NIishtar

ISLAMABAD: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) to set up a collaborative framework for the forthcoming Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative.

SAPM Dr Sania Nishtar was also present on the occasion. Under the terms of memorandum, Ehsaas has joined hands with Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) to design and execute the Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative under ‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas’ programme.

The memorandum is centred on improving the ecosystem for street vending. According to conservative estimates, there are around 20,000 street vendors operating in Islamabad, who are generating annual net income up to Rs 9.6 billion.

Addressing media after signing the agreement, Dr Nishtar said the PASSD is collaborating with city authorities and research institutes to organize street vending in a more sustainable manner.

“For the first time in Pakistan, government is embarking upon the initiative for street vendors. This is a very difficult policy space; we are trying to work out solutions,” she said. “The marginalized segment of street vendors is an integral part of the local economy, which cannot be wished away in a low-income country like Pakistan. The MoU will enable a more strategic and coordinated approach towards delivering impact,” she added.

Secretary PASSD Muhammad Ali Shahzada mentioned that a dedicated Vendor Support Group will be established to cater for the coordination and sustainability of the ensuing interventions in street vending. Upon the success of the pilot project in Islamabad, it could potentially be scaled up in other areas of the city and to other cities of the country.

Chairman CDA Amer Ali Ahmad said that the government realises the importance of street livelihoods in poverty alleviation efforts. Administrator MCI Syed Shafaq Hashmi informed on the setting of Street Economy Unit and the municipality’s participation in a Global Mayors Challenge with the street vendors’ project.

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