EMPLOYERS have told government that the new political dispensation needs to discard bad habits that contributed to the country’s economic crisis, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Matthew Chimbghandah told businessdigest on Wednesday that they had a two-hour meeting with Labour minister Petronella Kagonye this week.
This was the first meeting between employers and Kagonye since she was appointed to cabinet by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in November last year. Mnangagwa replaced former president Robert Mugabe, who resigned in the face of impeachment proceedings prompted by military intervention.
“It was a meeting to engage her for the first time as our minister of Labour,” Chimbghandah said. “We bemoaned the old dispensation for its notoriety in terms of policy inconsistency and also requested that this should not be repeated in the new dispensation.”
He said they discussed the urgent need to establish a social contract that involves government, business and labour.
“We also discussed how the ministry of Labour is an enabler of social and economic development in Zimbabwe simply because it is responsible for the national social dialogue,” Chimbghandah said.
“We have been engaging on a social contract since 2000, but up to now we do not have a social contract despite 18 years of talking,” he said. “The President and his deputies have been talking about social dialogue and this has given it the weight and significance it deserves, that is in terms of talking. What we are saying is that the social dialogue should now manifest.”
He said the minister had told Emcoz that she is “seized with the matter” of ensuring that social dialogue in the form of a social contract and the re-establishment of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum will materialise. He said they discussed how high input costs, such as power, water and labour, have hampered business competitiveness.
The Emcoz president said Kagonye told them the Labour Amendment Bill of 2017, as well as Special Economic Zones and retrenchment regulations are at the drafting stage.
He said they had also talked about the need to operationalise the Zimbabwe National Productivity Institute.
Chimbghandah said Emcoz has presented a paper to Mnangagwa on the need for an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises based on economic, social, political and environmental pillars. He, however, refused to elaborate on the contents of the presentation before Mnangagwa responds to it.