BY ARCHIBONG EYO, CALABAR – The Cross River State House of Assembly has passed a bill for the protection of livelihood rights and regulation of hawking in the state.
Also, the House is proposing the creation of an agency, Hawkers Right Protection and Regulation Agency (HRPRA) that will empower hawkers to undertake their businesses in an atmosphere of legitimacy with their rights adequately protected.
According to the lawmakers, when established, the Agency will create a data base of hawkers in the state for effective monitoring and regulation of hawkers’ activities by the authorities with the government also position to offer special assistance to them in a coordinated manner.
The bill, the first of its kind in Africa, will only permit adults from 18 years and above to hawk their wares at designated places and time while dressed in properly crested vests.
Presenting their report, Chairman, House Committee on Investment Promotions, Industries, Entrepreneurship Development, Public/Private Partnership, Banking and Special Projects, Hon Fred Osim said the legislation seeks to ameliorate the plight of hawkers and allied trades in the state.
Osim, who represents Ikom 1 State Constituency, said there is great “wisdom in advocating for hawkers’ rights as the lives of practitioners of the trade, often erroneously branded as low level members of society can be enhanced or changed if their activities are legalized and their rights protected.’’
He stated that in its work, the committee focused on the objective of ensuring Cross River is an attractive destination for business and increased economic activities, adding, “the bill aims to create a synergy between production and commerce by providing legal and regulatory framework to legitimize hawking as the tail end of production’’.
Sponsored by the member representing Yala 1 state constituency, Hon Regina Leonard Anyogo, the Bill was passed during plenary after considering the report presented by the House Committee on Investment Promotions, Industries, Entrepreneurship Development, Public/Private Partnership, Banking and Special Projects.