Lack of viable alternatives sees vendors remain on HCM City streets
An official in HCM City's District 1 said it was difficult to persuade street vendors to change jobs as working on the pavement is a lucrative job that is not bound by countless regulations.
Street vendors earn huge profit
Luu Le Bich Phuong, chairwoman of Nguyen Thai Binh Ward gave her opinion on the situation during a meeting about social order in District 1 in the first five months of 2017. According to Phuong, the sellers only need to work three to four hours a day to earn VND9m (USD397) to VND15m profit.
"The highly-mobile sellers only have to work for a short time and they are not bound by various regulations. They can open and close the businesses in a blink and make large profits. That's why it is difficult to persuade them to change business," she said.
More importantly, the career alternatives they are offered aren’t very diverse. There are only 12 to 13 jobs offered and most of them aren’t considered attractive such as knitting and weaving. Phuong said they would try to reorganise the use of the pavements to minimise the number of shops and kiosks.
"The kiosks, chairs and tables will be foldable and the sellers will work based on designated shifts. We can't let dozens of them on the pavement at the same time," Phuong said.
Tran The Thuan, chairman of District 1, said in the first five months, they had had 725 inspections and fined over VND3.2bn (USD141,000) for 7,000 cases where vendors or businesses obstructed pavements. The local authorities also persuaded the people to remove 3,447 obstructing objects. Other 1,924 were removed by force.
Most wards still carry out inspections but the pavement encroachment occurs on many streets such as Nguyen Dinh Chieu, Nguyen Hue, Hoang Sa and Pho Duc Chinh.
After a movement to clear the pavement in February, HCM City’s pavements have returned to how they were before. The street vendors have said this is unsurprising as the government haven't offered any effective alternatives.
District 1 has implemented various measures such as offering free vocational courses to street vendors or helping them get other jobs, but they are considered unattractive. A plan to hold markets with by-the-hour pitch rentals hasn’t been realised.