Africa Moyo recently KARIBA
EMPLOYERS have been advised to take advantage of President Mnangagwa’s keenness to engage and ensure regular meetings with Government to influence policy and drive economic prosperity, a labour expert has said.
Mr George Makings, a veteran labour law analyst, told delegates during the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) 2019 human resources indaba in Kariba last week that dialogue should come first if economic growth was to be achieved.
He said several issues including improving investor confidence, fighting corruption and amendments to the Labour Act, require constant dialogue between Government and employers to be fulfilled.
Mr Makings said President Mnangagwa’s “listening” Government should be approached with possible solutions to challenges they confront, something that could not happen during former President Robert Mugabe’s terms.
“One of things that I think were difficult when Mugabe was there, was to get anything he didn’t like to be done.
“But I get the impression that (President) Mnangagwa is open for dialogue.
“So this is the time we should get them to understand that we are stakeholders,” said Mr Makings.
He said if Government and employers engage, economic turnaround would be achieved in a short space of time given that the country has “strong infrastructure, we have an educated population that is keen to work”, compared with some other African countries.
“Dialogue is critical in building the confidence we need to move the economy. Without confidence we are not going to get the investors that we need for the economy to grow,” said Mr Makings.
“I think we really need to try to get the message across that the time for talking is over, from the point of view of the politics, we need to start seeing proactive action arising out of the process.
“I think that the Finance Minister (Professor Mthuli Ncube) is trying to do that and any support that he can get obviously is good and promising for the economy as a whole.”
He said key among issues to be discussed include respect for rule of law, whereby anyone caught on the wrong side of the law, is held to account, especially big-wigs that have been accused of abusing their authority from time to time.
Mr Makings said the country has a “well-structured legal system”, whose wheels should be allowed to roll and crush corruption in society.
“We need to be in a situation where those in authority who abuse their positions of authority should be brought to book. You can’t get an investor into a country where you have to pay a bribe to invest,” he said.
“We want to see the ease of doing business being addressed and I think the Minister of Finance (Prof Ncube) talks about that on a regular basis and he is talking about getting us into a position where when it comes to investing in the country, that investment can be approved in a matter of hours rather than months or even years (as was happening),” said Mr Makings.
He said it was crucial for employers to push for the improvement in the ease of doing business environment as businesspeople invariably become “party to a new investment”.
“If you want an investment to come in, if you want people to invest in your business; clearly, we need to have systems that allow them to do that, readily, rather than what we have,” said Mr Makings.
Emcoz was called upon to start pushing for amendments to the Labour Act of 2015, particularly where it speaks to compensating a staffer that would have been fired for stealing.
Initially, the amendments were expected to be done early 2018, but not much movement has been noted.
Said Mr Makings: “There are some critical elements in the Labour Act that we need to amend. I have no doubt in my mind that there is no-one who can say the majority of the Labour Act is bad, it’s not, but there are parts of it that can be addressed.”