THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has questioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s assertion that his government has secured US$11 billion investment for the country, saying nothing much has changed since the new administration took over.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo told the Zimbabwe Independent this week that the plight of workers has not changed since Mnangagwa assumed the presidency last year. He said the loss of jobs, which was a main feature during former president Robert Mugabe’s rule, has continued in the so-called new dispensation, while companies are still struggling to pay workers and closing down.
Mugabe was deposed in a military coup in November last year, paving way for Mnangagwa’s ascendancy.
Mnangagwa has claimed that the government has secured US$11 billion in investments at a meeting with members of an apostolic church grouping last week.
He has repeated the claim in public on several other occasions.
“I told them how we are opening our doors to old and new friends in our drive to build a better life for all Zimbabweans, and how in just four months, we have attracted investment commitments of US$11 billion.”
Moyo, however, challenged Mnangagwa to give more details about the purported investments.
“We heard that US$11 billion has been secured. Who has pledged the money and to which sector? This cannot be verified,” Moyo said.
He said although the country commemorated Workers’ Day on Tuesday, there has been no improvement in workers’ lives since Mnangagwa ascended to power.
“We get reports daily of companies failing to pay packages to workers, we hear reports of workers who have gone for months without getting their salaries and we are getting reports of employers who have disappeared deserting their workers,” Moyo said. “Nothing has changed at all.”
Moyo’s remarks are in stark contrast to the government mantra that Zimbabwe is open for business at a time the loss of jobs continues due to a debilitating liquidity crunch, cash crisis, acute foreign currency shortages and capacity utilisation of less than 50%.
Only this week the state run daily paper the Herald was forced to retract false stories in which it reported that deals worth “billions of dollars” had been signed by Chinese company Touchroad International Holdings Group in the tourism sector.
“In fact the government of Zimbabwe and Touchroad International Holdings Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding for tourism and hospitality industry investment projects,” the paper wrote in its apology on Tuesday.
More than 2 800 workers were retrenched by 73 companies in 2017 for various reasons ranging from restructuring to viability challenges, according to statistics complied by the Retrenchment Board.