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William Milasi

HARARE – The Zimbabwean government and the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency are working towards the creation of a new labour framework which would be in line with international standards.

An official revealed this week that government and the statistics agency were working with various labour market stakeholders in conducting a Labour Force and Child Labour Survey.

Judith Kateera, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, said during the launch of the LFCLS that synergies with various stakeholders in designing the survey instrument were “vital in ensuring that emerging areas of statistical requirements are incorporated in national surveys, thereby generating relevant indicators for monitoring national and development programmes.”

“The 2019 LFCLS is a major milestone in that the new framework for Statistics of Work, Employment and Labour Underutilization will be used for the first time on Zimbabwe,” said Kateera.

“This follows the new framework’s adoption of the 19th Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in 2013 and its subsequent approval by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Governing Body in 2013.”

The senior government official said the adoption of the framework was in response to the dynamics of labour markets and changing patterns of work.

“These trends in the labour markets require policy makers to respond to the needs of different target groups, hence the need for more comprehensive information relevant for diverse use,” she said.

The new framework would see a shift in the definition of employment, currently being confined to work performed for others in exchange for pay or profit, excluding own use production and volunteer work.

In previous frameworks, unemployment rate was the only indicator used for labour underutilization. The new framework has now introduced the concept of extended labour force to cater for a segment known as the potential labour force.

“The potential labour force refers to those groups who are classified as outside the labour force but have unmet need for employment and this includes those who may be engaged in other activities like unemployed homemakers, subsistence farmers and students,” Kateera said, adding the implementation of the new standards, already adopted by most countries, would ensure Zimbabwe remained abreast with best practices in the production of Statistics of Work.

“The labour market Indicators generated from the LFCLS should allow for the comparison with other countries in the SADC region and the African continent in line with international standards established by ILO,” added the chief accounting officer.

“Above all the labour market indicators should facilitate the effective monitoring of the labour market as well as the designing, implementation and evaluation of policies and programmes related to employment creation, income generation, skills development and related decent work policies.”

Government recently launched the Zimbabwe Migration Policy, which Kateera said was in line with the SADC thrust to promote sound management of intra-regional labour migration for the benefit of both the sending and receiving countries.

“The availing of job opportunities and high quality of life to the wider populace are the hallmarks of our National Vision 2030 as well as the global Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 (SDGs.) and the African Development Agenda 2063. Accordingly the need for regularly updated indicators relevant for the world of work cannot be overemphasized hence the need to work towards having biennial of not annual labour surveys.”

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