Friday, May 25, 2012
Zambia needs reforms in agriculture - IMF
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 25 May 2012, 13:29 CAT
DEPUTY director of the International Monetary Fund African department, Sean Nolan says Zambia needs reforms to lay the basis for pro-poor agricultural sector development to address the skill mismatch and to facilitate formal sector employment growth.
Nolan said this during the recently held International Conference on employment held at the Government Complex. Nolan said Zambia had achieved significant economic success over the past decade as measured by the Gross Domestic Product growth and other macroeconomic indicators.
He, however, said the record of converting output growth into poverty reduction and expansion of formal employment had been mixed.
Nolan said the national poverty rates still stood at about 63 per cent, while the share of the labour force engaged in low productivity subsistence activities might be growing.
['Low productivity' indeed. The difference is that they keep pretty much all of what they produce. - MrK]
And International Labour Organisation country director for Zambia Martin Clemensson said unemployment had grown across the country since the onset of the global financial crisis and estimated the rise in unemployment world-wide to be at 30 million since 2007.
He said there was need to incorporate employment creation into the formulation of macroeconomic policies to improve employment outcomes.
Meanwhile, workers representatives in a communiqué stated there was need to explore more creative and innovative approaches to job creation in sectors such as Information Communication Technology that offer potential for employment, according to the workers' movement.
The communiqué stated that the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia must include employment as a key indicator of monetary and fiscal policy.
The workers' representatives observed that this would ensure that employment and decent work were planned and were not treated as by-products of prudent macroeconomic management.
The communiqué further reads that availability of timely labour statistics should be promoted to provide data for effective policy planning.
The workers' representatives further called for the promotion of investment in infrastructure and public services as well as public employment schemes and also strengthening of labour legislation, inspection and enforcement to ensure workers' rights were effectively protected and casualisation was stopped especially among the youth.