Monday, March 24, 2014
Nkulukusa urgesmjob creation
By Kabanda Chulu
Sat 07 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT
ECONOMIC policies being implemented will only be meaningful to people if they impact positively to result in job creation and poverty reduction, says finance permanent secretary Felix Nkulukusa.
Nkulukusa said on Thursday that Zambia was experiencing consistent high levels of economic growth of around six per cent, single digit inflation, stable exchange rate and a favourable external sector performance.
"Something is missing…is it policy or implementation or advice? There is something we need to put in place because poverty levels are still high and income inequality in the country has remained high?" Nkulukusa asked at a national economic development conference in Lusaka. "60 per cent of our people are poor and out of five million people that are supposed to be working, only 800,000 are in formal employment. The rest are in the informal sector where it is costly to formalise their businesses."
He said the government was looking forward to incorporating views from key stakeholders and think-tanks to ensure that economic policies were resulting in job and wealth creation.
"When the wind of change blew across the Western world, there was a correlation between economic growth and poverty reduction, even in Asia it was the same but in Africa we are experiencing positive economic growth but no correlation with job and wealth creation. Should we remain poor or join the bandwagon? There is so much frustration among the people and to address this, we need the involvement of others since government alone can't do it. We need think-tanks to periodically engage us on policy issues that touch on the lives of the people so that government's objective of putting in place policies and programmes that benefit the grassroots are actualized with the input of research institutions whose advice is solidly based on facts."
He emphasized the need to have well defined institutional arrangements for interaction with the think-tanks.
"Let us develop institutional frameworks and capacities for policy dialogue because advice that is delivered through other means other than direct interaction with policy implementing institutions results in misunderstandings and are therefore not a viable alternative for us," said Nkulukusa.
The conference under the theme 'Growth, poverty and inequality: creating opportunities for all' was organised by the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research, National Economic Advisory Council and the International Growth Centre.