Wednesday, April 17, 2024

We’re Not Doing Enough To Absorb Young People Looking For Jobs -Musokotwane

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Finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane says the biggest challenge the country has is how to create jobs.

During the 2023 post budget and national development symposium organised by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce on last week Wednesday, Dr Musokotwane said efforts by both local and international companies to create employment in the country are not enough hence the need for more investments.

“And from that budget statement, the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, you have requested that I come to this meeting and exchange views with Chinese businesspeople. And I want to say that I’m very pleased to be here to exchange views with you. Because this is what we are doing anyway. Our government feels that the biggest challenge that we have as a country or the biggest challenge that we have is how to create the jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. That is challenge number one and we also know that the only way to provide more jobs for everyone is by attracting investments so that we have many companies operating in Zambia to create the jobs,” he said. “The government, yes, there are some jobs that we are creating like hiring more teachers, hiring more workers in the health services, hiring more policemen but there is a limit. The whole country cannot be policemen, cannot be teachers, cannot be nurses, cannot be immigration officials. Most of the jobs must come from the private sector. So, that’s the way we see things in this government. We are always ready to speak to the private sector, Zambian businesspeople, to encourage more private sector activities in the country.”

Dr Musokotwane thanked Chinese companies for many things that they are doing in the country “as they are raising the quality of the economy”.

He asked the private sector to do more.

“Also I want to tell you that please do even more because what we’re doing now, whether it is Zambian companies, whether it is Chinese companies, whether it’s companies from America or Europe, India, we are not yet doing enough to absorb the number of young people looking for jobs. We are not doing enough,” he noted. “Let me also say I’m very pleased with the activities of the Chinese businesspeople in Zambia. I was very pleasantly surprised at the last agriculture show. I went to the show and what I saw was very pleasing. I also learned that there’s a lot of things happening to produce building materials to replace the imports. Of course, some of you are producing cements. Some of you have seen some of the best furniture, whether you’re talking about chairs, tables, beds, I’ve seen some very nice things made of course by some of your companies using local timber. That is an example of value addition. So there are so many things that some of you are already doing in terms of value addition in the country. I want to congratulate you because you are raising the quality of economy. Thank you so much.”

Dr Musokotwane noted that the areas where the needed jobs can come from is from the private sector through investment.

“I was told today that there are some young people, they saw an advert from Zambia Revenue Authority for jobs. So jobs at ZRA [are for] 115, the number of applications [were] 10,000. Okay, there is something wrong with that. It tells you that there are not enough jobs. Number two, the jobs, most of the jobs should be in industry. That is what we see in every other country in the world. The jobs are in the industry and commerce. The jobs in government are few. So that is why I’m saying that we are not yet doing enough and we must do more to create the jobs, to create the skills, to improve the livelihoods of our people,” he said. “I encourage you, challenge you to do more to bring more investments in the country. We will openly welcome that because, that is what we want.”

Dr Musokotwane said the government intends to push down the inflation beyond five per cent as part of stabilising the country’s economy.

“The interest rates are still remain high. They need to come down. The confidence in the economy needs to be maintained. What I mean here is that the policy must be consistent. Not where today the policy is like this, tomorrow the policy is different. Next week the policy is different. That confuses everybody,” he said. “So, what we are waiting now for, having made this progress, is to get us to have now the memorandum of understanding signed by the official creditors that we are now arranging to negotiate the restructuring of the debt. That is something that is remaining and I’m encouraged by the Minister Counsellor to say ‘listen, engage with the representative on the Common Framework’ so that we can make progress. Thank you so much for that. And indeed, we are going to engage.”

Dr Musokotwane said the issue of debt should be seen as an opportunity for the country to encourage investment in the economy like the way other economies have done.

“…that’s what sometimes disaster tells you or teaches you to do. And we are determined to move away from this disaster of excessive debt to push the economy strong. So that we come out of a disaster into something that is even much better than what we ever did before. What is possible, if you are looking for a future, is to use Zambia as a stringboard for value addition to export. What is possible now is to use local raw materials in Zambia, add value and export so that you don’t depend on the government to give you a business. It is now business from private sector to private sector here in Zambia or abroad,” he said. “So the opportunities for using Zambia as a springboard, as a production centre for exports in the neighbourhood countries, is what we would like to see. This is what we would like to see.”

Dr Musokotwane called on businesses to engage the government of any laws that are hindering their operations.

“I know we are always saying obey the Zambian laws, but that does not mean that Zambian laws are always right. Which means there’s a possibility that sometimes our laws are a problem and if they are a problem, say so. For any businessperson, if certain laws are a problem, tell us so that if they are unreasonable, if they create problems for industry, we will listen and change them. Don’t feel shy if something is a problem. Say this thing is a problem. And if you make profits don’t feel shy…” urged Dr Musokotwane.

Chinese Embassy minister counsellor Dr Meng Hao said the imports that China gets from Zambia is six times more than what is exported to Zambia, which he said was an encouraging figure.

18 COMMENTS

  1. Mr. Musikotwane , remember how many bicycles the Chinese supplied to MMD and stored at your farm?
    Kaponyas do not create jobs.

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  2. (“I know we are always say obey the Zambian laws, but that does not mean that Zambian laws are always right) sir what are you trying to tell investors that our Zambian laws can be changed to suit an investor if that’s the case how many laws are you as the GRZ going to change to suit our investors? sir you sound so desperate in your statement. don’t you think sir you are opening an endless pit .

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  3. In all fairness, I am not UPND, but current Finance Minister is the only one from past governments to current one who seems to fully understand that our biggest problem in Zambia is lack of jobs. He has been very consistent on this issue and I am now more hopeful than ever before that identifying the problem and consistently amplifying it and its ramifications will lead to solutions.

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  4. “Finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane says the biggest challenge the country has is how to create jobs.”-LT

    Political party what’s going on? That’s not what you promised GRZ when you were Campaigning.

    GRZ needs to start holding political parties accountable to safeguard the Zambia intellectual property.

    GRZ Rule of law and precedents go hand in hand.

    “Taxation without representation” is a slogan used to describe being forced by a government to pay a tax without having a say—such as through an elected representative—in the actions of that government. Seal of approval to the Chinese chamber of commerce.

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  5. Your relative is implicated in the 51 flats in chalala. You can’t even be embarrassed of yourself.dirty family

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  6. The requirements to set up a business in Zambia are too many, but these are the same businesses which we need inorder to employ more people:
    1. It must be Pacra registered
    2. ZRA Tpin registered
    3. Register with Napsa
    4. Registered with Workman’s Compensation
    5. Register with NHIMA
    6. Pay for a council trading license and Fire certificate
    7. Depending on the sector you are in you will also need an additional 2 or 3 more certificates, if it is engineering you must be registered with EIZ and be a member of a specific related association, if it is food processing ZABS certification is required etc etc

    How many young people or even retirees that want to start this will have the capacity both in terms of energy and finances to both initiate and complete these tasks? Let us be…

  7. The jobs you boasted of where you employed more than 45,000 civil servants plus the ongoing security personnel recruitments are a drain and a great pressure on the tax payer. They are paid from public funds.

    Meaningful employment is in private productive sector. That is what you owe Zambians on jobs.

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    • How can the government owe Zambians jobs in the private sector?

      Maybe misunderstood your comment. Are you saying the government should employ everyone in government, or that they should give them private sector jobs?

      Or is it something else…

  8. Oh what happened to the pre-election promises…what about the famous CDF…what about the diversification of the work force structure? It is very easy to make statements when one is wooing voters…but always be mindful not to promise the moon only to deliver cheese….on the bright side we are glad pockets of cadres are tame no more ford rangers and free whiskey at those infamous night spots….no more freebies for the many young ladies that had ‘blessers’ ….we now need discipline in the police force, a check on the mushrooming schools whose sole purpose was profit…above all lets see job adverts in industry…start with the bloated idc…

  9. It’s a work in progress………

    10 years of PF cash handouts and mismanagement is taking time to correct…………

    All the fundamentals are in place for the great recovery of the Zambian economy……..

    By 2025 the masses will be calling for more HH to be president………..

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    • Keep on dreaming. Apart from using government recruitment for propaganda there’s nothing visible. Jobs are becoming scarce everyday. Mining companies are reducing labor or subcontracting.
      I wish you luck.

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    • Deja vu

      It’s mostly you PF clique parasites who are feeling the pinch now………

      Ordinary suffering Zambians don’t see any more suffering than from PF, and know they have to sacrifice to repair the damage done by you theives………

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  10. Precisely, it is not enough. However Bureaucracy tends to render the latter intangible. When trying to address this problem firstly is it an inclusive forum or merely a point of lecturer.

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