Aimed at setting up a collaborative framework for the forthcoming Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked at a meeting at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) between the PASSD and numerous stakeholders in the presence of the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) Dr. Sania Nishtar.
Under the terms of the MoU, Ehsaas has allied with the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), and the ‘Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) to collaboratively steer the design and execution of the Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative under ‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas’.
The memorandum is centered 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.
Ehsaas’ support for street vendors is in line with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of a welfare state based on the Riyasat-e-Madina model. In this regard, the PASSD is collaborating with the city authorities and the research institute to organize street vending in a more sustainable manner.
After signing the MoU, SAPM Nishtar announced in a press statement, “For the first time in Pakistan, the government is embarking upon the initiative for street vendors. This is a very difficult policy space; we are trying to work out solutions”.
“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.
The MoU was signed by Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary PASSD; Amer Ali Ahmed, Chairman CDA and Chief Commissioner, ICT Administration; Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator MCI; and Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, Vice Chancellor PIDE.
“Ehsaas is determined to support this collaborative initiative and working with the stakeholders”, commented Secretary Shahzada.
Muhammad Ali Shahzada, Secretary PASSD, mentioned that a designated Vendor Support Group will be established at Ehsaas to cater to 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 in the other cities of the country.
Amer Ali Ahmad, Chairman CDA, said that the government does realize the importance of street livelihoods in its efforts for poverty alleviation.
Syed Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator, MCI, spoke about the setting of the Street Economy Unit and Municipality participation at a Global Mayors’ Challenge with the street vendors’ project. Dr. Durr-e-Nayab, Joint Director, PIDE, also spoke on the occasion.
Zia Banday, the focal person on the street vendors’ initiative, informed the attendees that the contours of this multi-stakeholder collaboration have been designed to support street hawkers.