Zeparu to review employment market distortions

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THE Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (Zeparu) will soon hold a validation workshop on distortions in the country’s employment market.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

Zeparu executive director Gibson Chigumira told businessdigest on Tuesday that: “We will hold a validation workshop on distortions in the employment market either sometime this month or the first week of next month.”

Zeparu is an independent institution established by the government and the African Capacity Building Foundation in 2003 to conduct evidence-based policy analysis and capacity that feeds into the public policymaking process.

The survey comes at a time when there has been widespread doubt at some of the statistics availed by national research body Zimstats, particularly on levels of unemployment in the country.

Zimstats recently revealed that unemployment levels in the country are less than 7%, a stat which was received with widespread derision.

Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe executive director John Mufukare said there was need for such studies that help guide them on the way forward.

“We need statistics which are beyond reproach so that we can use them to interrogate and advocate for policies we need from government,” he said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary-general Japhet Moyo said they had been consulted for the study.

“I think that there are a lot of distortions in the market that we would want them to unearth,” Moyo said. “There is a need to look at the whole structure. We would want to know what they have found.”

He, however, expressed concern that the findings of the survey might be hampered by political considerations to avoid clashing with government.

“Whatever recommendations they have, they will not be complete as long as they have not dealt with the question of politics,” Moyo said. The country’s unemployment rate has increased due to the deepening economic crisis characterised by a debilitating liquidity crunch, a severe cash shortage and company closures.

More than 2 800 workers were retrenched by 73 companies last year for various reasons ranging from restructuring to viability challenges. A total of 8 843 workers were laid off in 2015 and 2016 and this does not include those who were affected by the July 17 Supreme Court ruling in 2015, which allowed employers to dismiss workers on three months’ notice.

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