CEOZ assesses road workers have traversed

HARARE - Creative Economic Outlook Zim (CEOZ) holds the notion that without this critical national, regional and global asset – workers - it is impossible for our respective societies to reach their full potential in the various spheres that defines the human race.

Accordingly, the 2017 commemorations are being held under the global focus of safety and health at workplace as outlined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

In giving prominence to the need for a safe and healthy workforce at work, the ILO impresses on the need for the employers to effectively collect and utilize reliable occupational safety and health data.

This is in-line with the Sustainable Development Goal number eight (8) which provides for the promotion of, “Inclusive sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all…” reads the statement on SDGs.

Having noted the above global trends, CEOZ is of the view that, the 1st of May, annually is a day for introspection for the peoples of Zimbabwe as we assess the road that we have traversed from colonial rule to ‘self-determination’.

As the broader international community of workers is focusing on enhancement of data collection for the purposes of improving safety and health at work, Zimbabwe as a country is grappling with the provision of employment.

The unemployment rate for the country varies from 80 – 90 percent, which in itself is a cause of local and global concern.

With such a huge percentage of the productive population of Zimbabwe being unemployed, it attracts unnecessary attention to a country that is calling upon the international community to invest in the various sectors of its economy.

Any investor, toying around the idea of investing in Zimbabwe will equally struggle with the problematic challenge of re-tooling the workforce.

This is especially realizing that the bulk of the unemployed net will need to be trained on the new work methods.

Even those that are currently employed in the trade they are not trained for will need their skills and experience calibrated with the rapid changes in the work place.

It therefore requires the government of Zimbabwe through its ruling party to address the nudging issue of leadership succession seriously, which has continued to be an albatross on the national neck.

As long as the thorny issue remains on the agenda, Zimbabwe’s growth passage will remain enveloped in smoke.

The Easy of Doing Business concept will yield very little without wholesale transformation in our polity and the culture with which Zimbabwe stands on.

Without pressing on the reset button, the toil and sleepless nights by the workforce of Zimbabwe in the informal and mainstream economy will go down the drain.

We equally call upon the government, workers, employers and all stakeholders to take note of the changing nature of work borne out of the changes anchored on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)s.

Such sweeping changes have not spared the creative industries through collapsing industry boundaries, pool of knowledge and skills, intensity of competition and the risk of workers becoming redundant.

These complex challenges on top of a melting economy requires an all stakeholders approach in equipping the knowledge reproduction sector – our institutions of education at primary and secondary stages and tertiary levels.

Our institutions of education are not positioned to develop a competitive asset in the complex environment at domestic and global levels.

We have inherited an archaic curriculum, which continues to operate on the premise of serving industrial revolution era, while we are now in the new phase of revolution – Internet of Things.

In this regard, the Government of Zimbabwe should realise that the national developmental goals will remain an anathema, if they are made without consultation of the workers.

The workers breath life to the policy formulations and blue prints, hence the need to create an enabling working condition, competitive remuneration and recognition of performance.

As the CEOZ, we therefore call upon the government of Zimbabwe to take heed of the changing nature of work and the changing local and global environment.

In itself the government should realize the emergence of the creative industry as the new force in creating jobs and attracting global partnerships and investments.

The government has a critical role in consolidating the highly fragmented industry through policy interventions and stimulating growth to the industry.

The creative industry ranges from designs, creative services, cultural and natural heritage, information technologies, content generation, publications and press clusters to name but just a few.

This remains a very vulnerable industry in which the bulk of the actors contribute and view themselves as hobbyists rather than active players in an emerging industry due to its fragmentation and lack of competitiveness as buyers, in most cases monopolists, force the prices on the suppliers of the creative products.

The arts sector is an example in which the constitution of Zimbabwe, section 61 recognises the need for artistic expression and creativity.

However, the bulk of the arts products are consumed ‘free of charge’ due to the vagaries of piracy. In addition, due to the limited buyers of the products, the artists do not have the bargaining power to set the prices of their products as they settle to the slavery charges outlined by the buyers.

It is on such a deplorable footing that we call upon the government of Zimbabwe to genuinely and whole-heartedly open the airwaves to promote the competitiveness of the creative industry.

Broadcasting is the most rewarding platform on which artists’ talents are duly rewarded when it is competitive.

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