Wednesday, 18 May 2011

ZAMBIA'S JCTR CALLS FOR AN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY THAT IS SUPPORTIVE OF SECTORS THAT ARE LABOUR INTENSIVE TO SUSTAIN THE JOBS BEEN CREATED IN THE COUNTRY

JESUIT CENTRE FOR THEOLOGICAL REFLECTION (JCTR) HAS CAUTIONED THAT CREATING AND SUSTAINING THE 20,000 JOBS WHICH HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED MUST BE ACCOMPANIED WITH GOVERNMENT’S ARTICULATION OF AN INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY THAT IS SUPPORTIVE OF SECTORS THAT ARE LABOUR INTENSIVE.
JCTR HAS NOTED THAT FOCUSING ON CREATING JOBS IN THE MINING SECTOR IS RISKY AS IT IS ONE OF THE MOST VULNERABLE SECTORS, THIS IS MAINLY BECAUSE IT IS HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY INTERNATIONAL MARKET FUNDAMENTALS MOSTLY OUTSIDE THE CONTROL OF THE ZAMBIAN ECONOMY.
ACCORDING TO ITS MONTHLY BULLETIN BASIC NEEDS BASKET JCTR HAS EXPLAINED THAT IT HAS BEEN WELL DOCUMENTED THAT THE HIGH AND SUSTAINED ECONOMIC GROWTH AND POVERTY REDUCTION EXPERIENCE IN EAST ASIA WAS AS A RESULT OF INVESTING IN LABOUR INTENSIVE SECTORS SUCH AS MANUFACTURING, AGRICULTURE AND TOURISM. 
IT HAS NOTED THAT USING THE EMPLOYMENT INTENSITY EVIDENCE FROM ZAMBIA’S INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO, IN REAL TERMS, INVESTMENTS IN MANUFACTURING HAS CREATED MORE JOBS IN COMPARISON TO THE MINING SECTOR WHICH IS A VERY CAPITAL INTENSIVE SECTOR WHILE MANUFACTURING AND OTHER SECTORS SUCH AS AGRICULTURE ARE LABOUR INTENSIVE.
ACCORDING TO JCTR, “IF THE AIM IS TO INCREASE AND SUSTAIN FORMAL JOBS, THE FOCUS SHOULD BE ON BOOSTING THE MANUFACTURING SECTOR RATHER THAN THE MINING SECTOR” CONSEQUENTLY, A VIBRANT INDUSTRIAL STRATEGY WHERE VALUE ADDITION IS THE DRIVING FACTOR SHOULD CREATE MORE FORMAL EMPLOYMENT OVER A SUSTAINED PERIOD OF TIME.
JCTR HOPES THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL KEEP TO ITS PLAN OF INCREASING FORMAL EMPLOYMENT FROM THE ESTIMATED 8.5PERCENT TO 20PERCENT AND REDUCING INFORMAL EMPLOYMENT FROM 64.7PERCENT 50PERCENT BY END OF 2015 AS STIPULATED IN THE SIXTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (SNDP) SINCE FORMAL EMPLOYMENT ACCOUNTS FOR ONLY ABOUT 10PERCENT OF THE COUNTRY’S WORKFORCE.
IT HAS STATED THAT WITH THE PREVAILING HIGH COST OF LIVING, IT BECOMES IMPERATIVE TO FIND LONG LASTING SOLUTIONS TO CHALLENGES FACED IN THE LABOUR MARKET.
MEANWHILE ACCORDING JCTR THAT CONDUCTS THE BASIC NEEDS BASKET (BNB), A TOOL THAT DEPICTS THE AVERAGE COST OF LIVING FOR A FAMILY OF SIX IN A SPECIFIC TOWN, FOOD COSTS IN VARIOUS TOWNS SHOWED A MARGINAL INCREASE LIKE IN LUSAKA, WHERE THE COST OF FOOD ROSE FROM K945,400 IN MARCH 2011 TO K957,550 IN APRIL.
THE INCREASE IN THE COST OF FOOD WAS INFLUENCED BY RISING PRICES IN COMMODITIES SUCH AS KAPENTA, MEALIE MEAL AND VEGETABLES AND SIMILAR PATTERNS WERE OBSERVED IN OTHER TOWNS SUCH AS KITWE AND LIVINGSTONE.
published by augustine

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