Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nawakwi urges harmony
By By Henry Sinyangwe
Sun 05 Jan. 2014, 14:00 CAT

EDITH Nawakwi says Zambians should use the peace being enjoyed in the country to create a future for themselves. The Forum for Democracy and Development leader urged Zambians to live as one family.

"Let us stop finger pointing, let us stop witch-hunting, let us live as one family. It is only when we live in harmony that we can exploit the potential in each one of us," she advised.

Nawakwi also said the PF alone did not have the monopoly of knowledge to move the country to higher heights and required the participation of all citizens to attain develop the country.

"It's only when all of us sit together and discuss our future that we can be able to enjoy the fruits of our common future...," she said. " We don't want to start having conflicts of finger pointing."
And Nawakwi said 2013 was full of hardships.

Reviewing the past year, Nawakwi said FDD would like to see a shift from the current laissez faire of the PF government to a position where the nation begins to engage in a discourse with the employers and owners of companies to discuss the country's stake.

She said the hardships faced in 2013 could have easily been avoided if the government had sat down to plan and evaluate the impact of a number of policy decisions.

"For example, the removal of subsidies on transport and food, the haphazard increment in public sector workers' wages which had not been implemented and therefore have caused untold misery especially in the health sector," Nawakwi said.

"The introduction of the minimum wage which the government has followed through to make sure that it's implemented which in effect has caused a lot of job losses as companies have resorted to mechanization."

She said if the government had sat down to work with the industry and the workers' unions, a "very good policy" could have been implemented to the benefit of all concerned.

"This is not the first country to introduce a minimum wage. However, the government must introduce such measures having fully consulted all stakeholders so that it is not just about the minimum wage, but about the local content in these industries and commercial service sectors," Nawakwi said.

She said there was need to look at the local content in terms of manpower and shareholding in foreign-owned investments.

"A lot of these companies are owned by foreign nationals, while the government sits and tries to persuade them to employ Zambians. The best would be to start evaluating as to what the local content will be, both in the shareholding and structure of employment of local people in these companies. This is what countries like Tanzania, Botswana are doing; any foreign company is told to give a specific number of shares to the local people and you must employ this quality of staff. We need a local content policy which requires that a foreign company must train young people who have no formal education, to be supervisors, to be truck drivers," Nawakwi said.

She said the government could not claim to be creating employment when its people were "just pushing wheelbarrows".

"What will the locals own in these companies, how many local mangers are you going to employ and how many people in the streets are you going to train and employ? It is possible," said Nawakwi.

And FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza said the PF had betrayed Zambians on the constitution by denying the general public access to the final draft.

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