By Wesley Ngwenya
In his campaign message to the Livingstone voters, President Sata claimed that his administration had created 50,000 jobs since it took over power in September 2011. On the contrary, there is no single job this administration has created.
I have a few questions for the president. What is the breakdown of the jobs created? How many jobs created in agriculture, mining, banking, for example? Where are the jobs located? What companies hold these jobs? Are these new companies or are they old companies that have expanded? Are these permanent jobs or temporal ones? Are these companies government owned or private owned companies? These and many more are hard questions that need to be answered regarding the 50,000 job claim.
It is strange that he PF administration can claim to have created jobs that don`t exist at all. I have written, on this website, an article where I pointed out that Zero jobs have been created by this administration. Jobs do not come with proclamations. Jobs are created with a clear plan on empowering private businesses as well as bringing new and real investments in the country.
In my opinion, the president and his people like the fact that Zambians have no jobs. They love to see Zambians line up at Statehouse, Cabinet Office, and at Ministry Headquarters begging for jobs—because this is how they maintain their power. The PF administration hates people who are working hard to help them create jobs. Why do you think they are so obsessed with hate for Zambian citizens such as Hakainde Hichilema who have created so many jobs through his companies and various investments in the country? The PF is working had to try and find faults with this man so that they can close his companies.
You see, if the president was really interested in creating jobs for this country he would give Hakainde call and ask him how he does it. He would ask Hakainde how the administration can help him so that in return he can help Zambians. If it is a loan he needs then the administration should facilitate that. Encourage private businesses to grow and bringing in new investments is the only way Zambia is going to have more jobs. New provinces and districts will not create new jobs. Instead, these are huge costs to government that need to be avoided.
How did the president come up with the number 50,000? Here is how. Remember the budget by the Minister of Finance in October? In the budget, the administration planned on creating 200,000 jobs in 2013 alone and 1 million jobs by 2016. We are almost in the end of the first quarter so automatically 50,000 jobs should have been created. In June they will tell us 100,000 jobs and you obviously know what they will tell us in December.
Here is a repeat of my suggestions in the earlier article on how the administration can create jobs just in case they missed them because they were busy with the swearing in ceremony:
1. Create local industries and put restrictions on importing competing products. I strongly believe that real jobs can be created if industries such as clothing factories in Livingstone can be revived. Meanwhile, impose tariffs and quotas on all imported clothing. Ban Salaula. Imagine how many real jobs will be created and how proud we will be wearing designer clothes, shoes and having handbags that are “made in Zambia”. I could even start my own label. How about a Wesley Ngwenyanecktie?
2. Agriculture, agriculture and more agriculture. This cannot be over-emphasized. There is clearly no plan by the administration on how they will create 550,000 jobs in agriculture in the next five years with their no-plan budget. Here are a few points the government can pick up. Firstly, just like above the government needs to revive the dead or dying food production industries like Mwinilunga Canning Factory. Similar industries for processing fish in Western Province, beef in Southern Province, beans in North-Western Province, groundnuts in Eastern Province, tomatoes in Central Province and so on. This will create real jobs that will employ local people in these areas. In a similar fashion, restrict the importation of certain foodstuffs so that we can promote our own. This will mean that government has to proactively go out there and look for real partners who are going to work with local people. This is where you give Hakainde a call.
3. Youth Empowerment. Zambian youths need to be empowered with firstly knowledge and skills. Ban exams in schools because they are not serving their purpose anyway. Introduce skills training as early as grade five. By the time they are grade twelve, we will have young people who will invent laptop batteries that made from cassava powder. It is then that it makes sense to fund their projects using the Youth Empowerment Fund or Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund. In addition, can we have a law that will require every new investor to have a Zambian partner before investing in Zambia? If an Australian mining company discovers gold in Mtenguleni Village I should sure receive royalties by virtue of my heritage.
4. Use the Railway Line for Copper Transportation. Please ban all truckers using the road to transport copper out of this country. This will ensure high productivity and increase in revenue for Zambia Railways. Imagine how many people will be employed between Livingstone and Solwezi (assuming a railway line will be done)? Feel free to include restrictions on other heavy goods such as mining equipment. Clive Chirwa can use our help by introducing legislature that will revamp our railway industry.
5. Invest in Research and Development. I strongly believe that if our country invested in R & D we will be able to figure out how to do certain things such as make cheaper roads instead of using expensive bitumen or grow crops such as maize and groundnuts cheaply. This, in the long run will help us create our own products which will mean industries being opened and employing people. I cannot believe that despite the headaches that many of us experience because of ineffective governments no one has come up with some kind of Zambian painkiller. Or some kind of pot that makes nshima at the push of a few buttons. Now that is development my wife would love.
6. Hire professionals as diplomats. I think that more employment would be created if the government hired real professionals to work in our embassies abroad. Depending on the country, there should be a focus on ensuring that they advocate, in those countries, for trade that benefits our citizens. They should relentlessly talk to the business community in those countries to come up and set up industries in Zambia. How about a Toyota Plant in Chongwe? Each ambassador, especially those posted in developed nations, should be given quotas to meet on how many jobs they bring to Zambia. Then those who meet their job quotas should be flown to Hawaii for a holiday and given a big bonus. Those that don`t should be made to sing and dance donchi kubeba on national television.
These few suggestions can in the long run create the budgeted 200,000 jobs in 2013. If however, I missed the 50,000 job adverts please send me an email because I am still very much unemployed despite my degrees.