Saturday, June 15, 2024

Recent Recruitment of 40, 000 workers by Government did little to cushion high unemployment levels in the country-JCTR


The Jesuit Center for the Theological Reflection (JCTR) has said the recent recruitment of over 40, 000 workers in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and defence forces did little to cushion high unemployment levels in the country.

Government last year recruited over 30,000 teachers and about 11,000 health workers.

JCTR Executive Director Fr. Alex Muyebe, S.J. said compared to the extent of the unemployment problem, government recruitments in 2022 are a drop in the ocean.

Fr. Muyebe, however, acknowledged that compared to recruitments in the recent past, in 2022 the government outperformed in creating public sector jobs.

“According to the 2021 Labour Force Survey (LFS) report, in 2021, the total number of unemployed persons was 450,759 of which 38.7 percent were in the rural areas and 61.3 percent in the urban areas. It is clear from this report that the unemployment rate has consistently been higher among youths and females. In 2022 the Ministry of Health recruited 30,000 teachers, the Ministry of Health recruited 11, 276 health workers whereas the Ministry of Defense recruited 5, 000 personnel. Other departments such as Police and ZAWA also advertised for recruitment of several officers, but the number has not yet been made public. One thing to note is that the recruitment of teachers and health workers were the largest in recent history. For example, MOH recruited 2,232 health workers in 2020 and only 395 health workers in 2021. Compared to recruitments in the recent past, in 2022 the government outperformed in creating public sector jobs. However, compared to the enormity of the unemployment problem, government recruitments are a drop in the ocean,” Fr. Muyebe said.

“In 2021, a total of 450,759 employable people were without jobs. Majority of them (352, 874) were youths. It is interesting to note that while it is very important that the government must ensure that it creates public sector jobs, the biggest employer is the private sector. In 2021, the government (central government, local government and parastatals) accounted for 13.1% of the employment in the country and 85% of the jobs were from the private sector,” he stated.

Fr. Muyebe said government efforts in growing the private sector should be the best indicator of performance since the private sector is the largest employer.

“Therefore, government efforts in growing the private sector should be the best indicator of performance since the private sector is the largest employer. The 100,000 applications during the health worker recruitment and the 200,000 applications during the Ministry of Defense recruitment are a reflection of the enormity of the unemployment problem (based on the 2021 LFS report, there are currently 450,759 unemployed people in the country). It is possible that some of the applicants for the health, education and defense jobs are actually already working, but would love to switch jobs (the size of this group however if not known). For example, some trained teachers or nurses could be working as shop attendants or even as teachers and nurses in the private sector, but would like to join civil service,” he said.

Fr. Muyebe said the government should create a conducive and enabling business environment for private sector growth.

“Government alone cannot absorb all the unemployed people. The private sector plays a pivotal role in providing employment. Government should therefore create a conducive and enabling business environment for private sector growth. The country needs a very robust agriculture sector. The agriculture sector in Zambia remains a very critical potential for economic growth, job creation and development. In the early 2000s, the agriculture sector contributed over 20 percent of GDP and created over 72 percent jobs in the country. In 2021, agriculture sector contribution to GDP stood at 2.96 percent1 and created less than 48 percent of jobs in the country. Empowerment programs under the CDF and Citizens Economic Empowerment Program should be evaluated for purposes of making them more effective in generating the much-needed jobs. FDI will continue to be one of the key sources of jobs. Investment promotion should therefore be strengthened and incentives could be provided to labor intensive FDIs,” Fr. Muyebe said.


  1. Of course, the recruitment of 30,000 teachers and 11,000 health workers is not even a drop in the ocean but just vapour. What is strange though is how the government is excited about this in the midst of a huge unemployment pandemic. And that is why I was shocked with one minister who said the government is putting 3 car battery making plants in Ndola to solve the unemployment challenges, only then did I realise that either the government does not understand the magnitude of the humongous unemployment level in the country, or the dream is just too small. Open state farms please and swallow the huge army of both skilled and non skilled unemployed man power

  2. And it is only the Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane who has consistently talked about the huge unemployment levels in the country, he is the only one giving hope that a lasting solution could be found. I also heard one minister talking about industrialization to tackle unemployment, strangely as if industrialization is an overnight issue, people are looking for short term, mid-term and long-term solutions, for now the immediate need is short term solution.

  3. This is where you get it wrong. Health and Education are service industries. We need Teachers and Healthcare workers to boost economic growth that i return create jobs you are referring to. So, i never viewed these recruitments in this manner but job they can drive job creation.

  4. Previous and Current government have absolutely no plan coupled with no competency to tackle the unemployment issue, otherwise by now we could have seen some blueprint and action. I have even heard UPND members on TV saying we have employed 30,000 teachers and 11,000 health workers, meaning they have no clue of the gigantic unemployment issue in the country. The little survival instinct businesses people are putting up an unsustainable in such an un enabling environment

  5. State farms in each province producing food for both the yawning international markets and domestic markets, targeting all professions amounting to 100,000 people per province instantly getting in 1 million people comprising managers, accountants, agriculturists, marketers, lawyers, doctors, drivers, mechanics, carpenters, packers, I T personnel, electricians, teachers, health workers, botanists and all the other professions. I have deliberately put up some professions for people to understand the context of a state farm. This even improves your kwacha in terms of FOREX. A long hanging fruit with guaranteed returns if well managed.

  6. This unemployment issue should be declared as an emergency. The reason why some developed countries give benefits to the unemployed because not everybody can be an entrepreneur in such a harsh environment like ours where banks are not friendly. And worse still our school curriculum is still skewed towards people looking for work after school with lip service pronouncements of changing it from successive governments


  8. Unless in a communist country, nowhere else has government ever solved an unemployment problem by employing civil servants. That will just bloat the civil service and raise taxes. Create the jobs, and teach Entrepreunerism to youths from primary school. Convert some national reserves to Venture capital. You have idling mineral resources and plenty of manpower as can be seen at the black mountain. Very soon IMF will come in and tell you to retrench the civil servants.

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