Radar | Aug 21,2021
July 30 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew ( Kidist Yidnekachew has degrees in psychology and journalism and communications. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. )
I was getting off the taxi a week ago when I saw two law-enforcement officers holding what appeared to be a small box for charger cables and ID holders. In front of them was a street vendor pleading with them. He looked sad.
Why would he not be?
Imagine grinding all day looking to make a sale only to be stopped in one's tracks by the authorities. More officers followed from behind. Something told me this was not the first time the man got busted. Taxis and street vendors have that in common; they will never stop their mischief (the crime of selling trinkets and electronics without a license) even if they get caught. It is 'get rich or die trying.'
There is no harm in informal street vendors, except they block the road in busy areas and sometimes get hurt in the process of running away from law enforcement officers. It would be better to be formalised but the cost of renting a shop is prohibitive, especially for those on the low-income spectrum. There have been efforts by the Addis Abeba City Administration to give them space but this has not always been in parts of the city where there is foot traffic.
The formal business environment is simply not suitable for vendors who want to sell their products with a small profit margin to earn a living. Maybe after years of saving, they might come around. If one was to follow the regulations, then they might as well wait for another decade to make something of themselves. This is of course for those people with bare minimum capital. The process can be disheartening.
I had many business ideas that I wanted to start but the whole idea of renting an office, on top of other costs in promoting and developing the product, is discouraging. Business is all about taking risks, but how much? If that risk requires years of saving and there is a chance I could fail, then I might not take the risk. But if the risk is minimal and the profit margin is large, most people would go for it.
The struggle reminds me of a little girl selling tissue paper – the small ones on the street. She is often asking passersby to buy from her, even begging them. Her mother sits somewhere near, keeping an eye.
I once bought tissue paper from her, which looked very cheap. I told her she could keep the money and keep her merchandise. To my surprise, she refused and threw it at my feet.
“No, I don’t want your money. I just want you to buy soft from me and you did,” she said firmly.
Most people in her situation would have taken the money and sold the tissue paper, not the little girl. Another time, I found her eating leftover potato chips from the floor. Feeling bad, I gave her 10 Br. She refused to take the money and instead insisted that I could buy tissue paper from her for 10 Br.
I insisted that I did not need one; instead, I just wanted to buy her chips. She followed me and gave me the paper. I could not stop admiring her mother, who taught her integrity and honesty at such a young age. The small girl only wants what she earns.
She came to my mind while watching the street vendor begging the law enforcement officers to give him a pass.
Two men behind him were arguing whether or not the officers should let him go or not. The older man said the street vendor should learn the lesson of not complying with the law.
"His kind usually has been through the process before so many times that they know nothing will happen to them and after few days you will see them on the streets again," the old man made his argument.
The other guy did not think taking the guy's belongings was fair, although what he did was wrong.
"It probably took him many years to save money to buy the items and start the business. If his belongings are taken from him now, then he won’t have anything to do," the other guy retorted.
He thought it was better the street vendor was working and not going around stealing stuff. I happen to agree with the latter’s perspective. Until our living conditions are better, it would not be the end of the world to put up with struggling people who are a little derailed.
PUBLISHED ON Jul 30,2022 [ VOL 23 , NO 1161]
Featured | Feb 23,2019
Agenda | Oct 19,2019
Featured | Dec 07,2019
Fortune News | Sep 28,2019
Radar | Jun 14,2020
Photo Gallery | 54522 Views | May 06,2019
Fortune News | 47057 Views | Jul 18,2020
Photo Gallery | 46344 Views | Apr 26,2019
Fortune News | 46063 Views | Sep 01,2021
Commentaries | Aug 06,2022
Life Matters | Aug 06,2022
My Opinion | Aug 06,2022
Sunday with Eden | Aug 06,2022
Agenda | Aug 06,2022
Editorial | Aug 06,2022
July 2 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
On a rainy afternoon last week, a coffee processing facility in the capital's Akaki-Qality District was abuzz with activ...
November 27 , 2021
Against my will, I have witnessed the most terrible defeat of reason and the most sa...
November 13 , 2021
Plans and reality do not always gel. They rarely do in a fast-moving world. Every act...
October 16 , 2021 . By HAWI DADHI
Residing in a country with no capital market, an organised marketplace for trading se...
Leaders of the National Election Board are in a charm offensive mood, of a sort. Last week, they organised a rare tour for members of the me...
When the country’s most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or tw...
August 6 , 2022
Few initiatives by the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) have been pu...
July 30 , 2022
Ethiopia’s banking industry is not merely underdeveloped. It has historically regre...
July 23 , 2022
The flip side of a government spending plan is financing. Behind the campaign promise...
July 17 , 2022
Messrs Ahmed Shide and Eyob Tekalegn (PhD), minister and state minister for Finance,...
PM Abiy Ahmed (PhD) at a Gala Dinner Called for the Awarding of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize
May 6 , 2019
As the rainy season gets wetter, accompanied by heavier rain showers, it is not unusual to see folks with umbrellas. Little do they know tha...
August 6 , 2022
Champagne popped and poured; and a cake was cut to celebrate another milestone for Ethio telecom, still the only active operator in the coun...
August 6 , 2022 . By RAHEL BOGALE
The hospitality industry has entered the list of economic sectors that enjoy tax exemptions and incentive...
August 6 , 2022 . By RAHEL BOGALE
Federal authorities are contemplating the reversal of a decade-long ban on maize export. A team of expert...
August 6 , 2022 . By RUTH TAYE
Yodahe Zemichael seems determined to push the national ID project past the pilot stage, onboarding up to...
Or see contact page