By Byron Mutingwende
Stakeholders have been urged to engage in employment creation for improved standards of living of the citizenry.
Petronella Kagonye, the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare made the remarks at the dialogue on employment creation held in Harare on 4 April 2018. The minister alluded to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s call to put prime focus on the implementation of solutions to grow the economy, create jobs and boost the income of the citizens.
“As heads of Government, our role is extremely critical in the realisation of the country’s economic and employment policies. The Constitution calls upon all state actors to engage in employment creation for improved standards of living. In terms of macroeconomic policies, ZIMASSET guides and directs towards job creation and value addition for maximised employment outputs,” Kagonye said.
The ministry of labour drives the National Employment Policy, which defines national employment objectives, putting them into context for implementation by government ministries.
Further to that, the government and its social partners (the employers and worker organisations), have adopted a Zimbabwe Decent Work Country Programme, the framework within which multifaceted initiatives for job creation have been implemented across sectors.
Ngoni Masoka, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare said the dialogue meeting was meant to evaluate employment creation potential across different economic sectors of the country.
The 2018 National Budget Statement reflects on the determination to institute recovery measures that embrace employment creation and poverty reduction. It also highlighted the need to promote productive sectors of the economy such as agriculture and mining that have potential for economic growth and integrate employment objectives.
Hopolang Phororo, the Director of the International labour Organisation (ILO) for Namibia and Zimbabwe bemoaned the high percentage of people in the informal economy, which may lead to underemployment.
“These jobs are characterised by long working hours and poor working conditions. As ILO, we are driving the decent work initiative. More employment opportunities could be created if we add value addition to agriculture that is the backbone of the Zimbabwean economy,” Phororo said.
Giving a Snapshot of the Labour Market and Sectoral Employment Potential, Dr. Godfrey Kanyenze, the Director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe, said 68% of the population resides in rural areas, deriving their livelihoods directly from subsistence agriculture.
“To that end, 67.2% of total employment is in agriculture. That means that 83% of the employed are vulnerable. The majority of people in this ‘sector’ are at the very bottom of the economic and social ladder, working under precarious conditions.
“They typically suffer from a deficit of decent work, with its defining characteristics being that their work is ‘unprotected,’ ‘excluded,’ ‘unregistered,’ or ‘unrepresented.’ In that areas, work and income sharing are dominant.nThe majority of the workers are youth and women,” Dr. Kanyenze said.
He proferred a number of recommendations. He urged the Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to leverage decent work-rich growth.
“There is need to adjust the Macroeconomic Policy Framework and Budget to facilitate Pro-poor, employment-rich growth. It is equally critical to develop employment indicators and targets in all sectors of the economy, flagship projects and interventions to leverage job-rich economic growth.
“Further to that, targeting employment-intensive sectors and the participation of the poor in high growth sectors; promoting product and value chains and channels and clustering SMEs to widen the employment impact of initiatives; facilitating transition to decent work and formality; and migration management of diaspora skills and remittances is of paramount importance.”
ILO experts shared various topics including a summary of the findings from the Environment for Sustainable Enterprises Assessment, a presentation on putting jobs at the centre stage of lives and lastly, tools for creating jobs.
In his closing remarks at the meeting, Clemence Zondile Vusani, the Director of Labour Administration in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, said in order to avoid the pitfalls of jobless growth, a deliberate move had to be made to ensure that economic development corresponds with employment growth to create and make available employment opportunities.
“What remains is for us to single out strategies that fit into the realities of our economy. Already this meeting has empowered with relevant approaches and the necessary tools to possibly reverse the negative elements and turning them into opportunities and employment creation,” Vusani said.