Saturday, May 29, 2010

Declarations of growing economy are only statistical, says Shamenda

Declarations of growing economy are only statistical, says Shamenda
By Florence Bupe
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:00 CAT

FORMER Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Fackson Shamenda has said the increased industrial unrest in the country is a clear sign that the economy is still limping.

In an interview, Shamenda said the government’s declarations that the economy was growing were only statistical as the picture on the ground showed otherwise.

“The increased unrest is a clear indication that the economy is still biting and when people talk about the economy growing, it is just statistics,” he said.

Shamenda said the benefits of the economy were still not trickling down to the majority of Zambians who were still poor. He also said the rise in the cost of necessities like energy impacted negatively on the living standards of many Zambians, most of whom get a meagre income. Shamenda challenged the government to lead by example and revise the minimum wage threshold from the current K268,000, as this figure was unsustainable.

“People are singing about an improvement in the country’s economy, yet when you look at what is happening the picture is different. The cost of energy and other services is going up every day when workers’ salaries have remained low,” he said.

Shamenda charged that the government’s expenditure was worrying and there was need to direct resources towards the improvement of ordinary citizens.

“When you look at government expenditure, you can tell that there’s no tomorrow. It is really worrying,” said Shamenda.

Over the recent weeks, there has been increased industrial unrest characterised by protests with workers in various sectors calling for improved working conditions and higher wages.

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