Saturday, March 29, 2008

Power outages could lead to job loses, warns Musenge

Power outages could lead to job loses, warns Musenge
By Mutuna Chanda in Lusaka and Zumani Katasefa
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

OUTGOING Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) president Dan Musenge has warned that the power shortages that the country is experiencing could lead to job losses. And commerce minister Felix Mutati has called for better engagement between the government and employers to be able to attract US $3 billion and create 100,000 jobs this year. Meanwhile, labour deputy minister Austin Liato said the quest for increased productivity should not be allowed to result in workers’ abuse.

Speaking during the ZFE annual general meeting at which new office bearers were being elected in Lusaka yesterday, Musenge said the measure of suspending duty on energy saving devices that President Mwanawasa announced recentlywas not enough and that a lot more needed to be done to address the energy problems that Zambia was facing.

“As we stand now companies and the economy are incurring the costs resulting from the energy problems we are facing,” Musenge said. “There could be staff shed-offs because companies are producing less and those are the implications that need to be addressed.”
Musenge also spoke of the need for the government to reserve land for the expansion of the country’s road network.

He further urged the government to carefully consider its steps before agreeing to the Economic Partnership Agreements that it, together with other African Caribbean and Pacific states, was negotiating with the European Union (EU).

Musenge said Zambia still had to deal with belonging to either the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

But Mutati said Zambia would not choose whether to belong to Comesa or SADC but that the broader perspective was for all African states to belong to one bloc.
Mutati further said additional electricity was needed to sustain the momentum in the economy.

“Today (yesterday) we are receiving bids for Maamba Collieries and part of the plan for it is to have a coal fired power station at Maamba and so that will address part of the problem of the power shortages in the short term,” Mutati said.

And Liato in a speech delivered by labour commissioner Noah Siasimuna said Zambia needed to focus on productivity promotion but that this should not result in workers being abused.

Meanwhile, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) deputy general secretary Ian Mkandawire urged government to put in place stiff laws that would ban the exportation of unprocessed minerals outside Zambia by mine investors.

In an interview yesterday, Mkandawire said the government should make sure that the investors create enough jobs for Zambians by ensuring that the processing of the minerals was done within Zambia before being exported.
And Mkandawire said that the attitude of foreign investors towards Zambian workers was still bad.

He observed that there were a lot of disparities in salaries and wages between local and expatriate workers in many mining companies.
“We want to see equal pay for equal work. We want to have professional expatriate workers. We do not want expatriate to have security guards here. No,” Mkandawire said.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home