Monday, July 02, 2012
By Allan Mulenga and Namatama Mundia
Mon 02 July 2012, 13:24 CAT
CARITAS Zambia executive director Sam Mulafulafu has urged President Michael Sata to take practical action in curbing unemployment levels in the country.
Commenting on President Sata's assertions that the unemployment levels in the country were a time bomb and that youths would turn against the government if the high levels of unemployment were not address immediately, Mulafulafu yesterday said there were many youths desperately looking for employment.
"It is not the first time we are hearing such assurance, what we want to see is action. There is so much talking and as you have heard before such assurances are not new, many of them have been made over a long period now. What we want to see is practical action," he said.
Mulafulafu said unemployment was a huge problem facing the country.
"You just have to go on the streets on any day, you will find young men and women hanging around literally doing nothing. They are many who have been churned out from our schools either high schools or colleges of education or colleges of vocational training without any jobs. You have been seeing that there has been attempts to recruit by the military wings, the chaos which has been there!" he said.
Asked on whether the re-opening of Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles would help curb unemployment levels, Mulafulafu said the move was "a drop in a ocean".
"The opening up Mulungushi Textiles is a drop in the ocean. It will not be able to take all those youths. There is a lot of idleness on our streets. Every parent or guardian will tell you that they have young people in their homes who are looking for jobs. Every moment there is some announcement of job recruitment you have seen the stampede which has been there," said Mulafulafu.
On Saturday, President Sata said the government would re-open Zambia China Mulungushi Textiles before the end of the year as a way of mitigating the unemployment levels in the country.
Meanwhile, Open Society Foundation executive director Sunday Chanda urged Zambians to support President Michael Sata's commitment towards stamping out casualization.
Chanda said in a statement yesterday that youths deserved decent jobs which offered sufficient security.
"This is a long journey and for as long as there is a comprehensive plan to deliver on these jobs, the youths will be ready to walk with the government in ensuring job creation and a better life," he said.
Chanda said President Sata meant well on employment creation and the challenge lies with the ministries to implement his directives such as the development of a National Youth Employment Action Plan which they must present to him by September 2012.
"The ministries need to pull up their socks and perform to the President's speed. Based on his directives, these ministries must take on the task to innovate and translate the President's policy directives into tangible plans of action," he said.
Chanda said with President Sata committing to stamp out casualization, the ministries dealing directly with the economy, commerce and trade and youth must move in fast and look at setting up a joint task force so that the directive was manifested in some policy re-alignment.
"As an organisation, we stand ready to give him (President) and his government all the support in realising permanent and decent jobs for youths. With short and long-term interventions aimed at stamping out casualization and creating decent jobs, the youth of Zambia will find a reason to give government time to deliver on their commitments," Chanda said.
He added that youths knew very well that jobs were never hatched in a vacuum and might take time to create in the short period that government has been in office.
"What the youth are asking for is to see a marshal plan to inspire hope that government is doing all it can to create jobs," Chanda said.
He further said his foundation was ready to work closely with the government and private sector to identify projects with economic potential that could generate employment for as many youths as possible at district, provincial and national levels.
Chanda called on stakeholders, including opposition parties, to propose alternatives to job creation for the sake of the thousands of youths who are seeking employment.
Opening the International Trade Fair in Ndola on Saturday, President Sata warned that unemployment was a time bomb and that youths would turn against his government if the high unemployment levels were not address immediately./SM/WK