Islamabad: Aimed at setting up a collaborative framework for the forthcoming Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked Thursday at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) to steer the design and execution of the said initiative under ‘Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas.’
The MoU was signed between PASSD and a multitude of stakeholders including the Capital Development Authority (CDA), Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), and Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE). The ’PM’s Special Assistant on Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar witnessed the ceremony.
The MoU is centred on improving the ecosystem for street vending. According to estimates, around 20,000 street vendors are operating in Islamabad, generating annual net income of up to Rs. 9.6 billion. Ehsaas’ support for street vendors is in line with Prime Minister’s vision of a welfare state based on ‘Riyasat-e-Madina’ model. In this regard, PASSD is collaborating with city authorities and research institutes to organize street vending in a more sustainable manner.
In a press statement issued after the signing ceremony, Dr. Sania said, “For the first time in Pakistan, the government is embarking on an initiative for street vendors. This is a very difficult policy space; we are trying to work out solutions.”
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.
Shahzada mentioned that a dedicated Vendor Support Group will be established at Ehsaas for 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. Amer Ali Ahmad said, the government realizes the importance of street livelihoods in poverty alleviation efforts. Shafaq Hashmi informed on the setting of Street Economy Unit and Municipality participation in a Global Mayors’ Challenge with the street vendors’ project. Dr. Durr-e-Nayab from PIDE also spoke on the occasion.
Zia Banday, Focal Person on the street vendors’ initiative, informed the participants that contours of this multi-stakeholder collaboration have been designed to support street hawkers.