ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked in a meeting held at the Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division (PASSD) in Islamabad on Thursday, aimed at setting up a collaborative framework for the forthcoming Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative.
The MoU was signed in the presence of the Prime Minister’s Special Assistant on Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr. Sania Nishtar.
The memorandum was signed by the Secretary PASSD Muhammad Ali Shahzada, the Chairman Capital Development Authority (CDA), Amer Ali Ahmed, and the Chief Commissioner, the Islamabad Capital Territory Administration (ICTA), the Administrator Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) Syeda Shafaq Hashmi and the Vice-Chancellor Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque.
Under the terms of the memorandum, Ehsaas has joined hands with the CDA, the ICT administration, the MCI, and the PIDE to collaboratively steer the design and execution of the Ehsaas Street Hawkers’ Initiative under Mazdoor Ka Ehsaas.
The MoU 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 City authorities and research institutes to organize street vending in a more sustainable manner.
In a press statement after signing the MoU, Dr. Sania Nishtar said “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 said.
In his remarks, the Secretary PASSD Muhammad Ali Shahzada said “Ehsaas is determined to support this collaborative initiative and working with the stakeholders”.
The Secretary PASSD mentioned that a dedicated Vendor Support Group will be established at Ehsaas 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.
The Chairman CDA Amer Ali Ahmad said that the government does realize the importance of street livelihoods in poverty alleviation efforts.
The Administrator MCI Syed Shafaq Hashmi informed on the setting of Street Economy Unit and Municipality participation in a Global Mayors’ Challenge with the street vendors’ project.
The Joint Director PIDE Dr. Durr-e-Nayab also spoke on the occasion.
The Focal Person on the street vendors’ initiative Zia Banday informed the participants that contours of this multi-stakeholder collaboration have been designed to support street hawkers.