Wed, 24 Aug 1994

Business group to hold census on street vendors

JAKARTA (JP): The Coordinating Agency for the Development of the Informal Sector/Small-scale Business Group (GUS) will conduct a census on sidewalk vendors in October in a bid to gradually rid all of Jakarta's main streets from the informal traders.

"The census is scheduled to last two months," an executive of GUS, Agus Djazuli, told The Jakarta Post yesterday. "The results will be announced in March."

"The census is aimed at gradually removing sidewalk vendors from all the city's major streets, especially those operating on the sidewalks along the thoroughfares"

The data from the census, the official said, will be used by GUS in the production of a map which will show the concentration of vendors so that it will be easier for the agency to identify and spot them later during the judicial operations.

"In the end all sidewalk vendors operating along city's streets will be registered and relocated," the official said.

Under the plans, sidewalk vendors operating along the city's thoroughfares will be asked to move to spaces provided in high-rise office buildings and shopping centers.

"For instance, some food sellers who used to operate around the Bank Nasional Indonesia `46 (Bank BNI) building on Jl. Sudirman, have been relocated to the bank's basement," the official said.

He said that GUS, which was set up last May based on a Gubernatorial Decree, had appropriated a 1,000-square meter plot of land near a police station on Jl. Raya Bogor, Cililitan, East Jakarta, to accommodate sidewalk traders.

In addition the agency also plans to acquire around 3,000 square-meters of land on Jl. Nusa 1 in Cililitan, and another 2000 square-meter piece of land in the overpopulated Galur subdistrict, Central Jakarta.

GUS said that it will cooperate with subdistrict offices in the census.

Census officials will ask the vendors some simple questions and write down their answers in structured questionnaires as most of the informal traders are thought of as uneducated people. The questions will cover the amount of their initial working capital, daily turnovers and type of goods they sell.

According to the 1991 statistics, there are 1.5 million people working in the informal sector, which includes sidewalk traders.

In a related development GUS also plans to hold a census on beggars and scavengers in October as a follow-up of last year's incomplete census on street vendors.

For the development of this informal sector, GUS has earmarked eight billion rupiah in the 1994-95 fiscal year, which began in April.

The census on street vendors last year was incomplete because it focused only on areas widely-known to be full of vendors and ignored other less occupied areas.

Pilot project

As part of a pilot project on the guidance of vendors, GUS is now training 50 street vendors who used to operate on Jl. H.R. Rasuna Said, South Jakarta, on how to make brooms.

"We will also train vendors from Cempaka Putih and Senen in Central Jakarta and Pramuka in East Jakarta" the official said.

GUS is also considering an offer from the publisher of Kompas daily to distribute free T-shirts to street vendors in order to enumerate and identify them easier.

However, GUS feared that the distribution of T-shirts would be interpreted by the vendors as a sign of approval of their activities.

"In fact, hawking or peddling on the street is forbidden by law, thus, we will certainly avoid things which could evoke an impression that we support their operations," the official said. (arf)