WE WILL BREAK THE PRICE AND SALARY HIKES CYCLE: NZENZA

Government is strengthening its policies and resource support through the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) to stabilise prices and cushion workers from businesses bent on profiteering, a Cabinet minister has said.

In a statement to mark Workers’ Day yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza said unjustified price hikes were hindering Zimbabwe’s transitional journey under the Second Republic.

Government, business and labour, she said, needed each other to solve economic challenges confronting the nation.

Minister Nzenza said the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Bill, which seeks to provide a platform for consultations on socio-economic issues between the Government, business and labour, was now before Parliament.

The Bill is among laws enunciated by President Mnangagwa when he delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) during the official opening of the First Session of the Ninth Parliament last year.

On price hikes, Minister Nzenza said: “As we embark on this transitional journey, we call upon business to exercise restraint on raising prices. The price hikes are hurting. This is why the President has launched the Transitional Stabilisation Programme (TSP) which has five key pillars.

“No one wins as the workers revert back to business to ask for more and we eventually get locked in a vicious cycle of price and salary hikes. However, as tripartite partners, we believe that caring for our workers, treating them fairly and helping them to grow in their jobs is a productive arrangement given that there is evidence that caring for human capital drives enterprise and economic growth.

“On the part of Government, we will strengthen policy and resource support for prices stabilisation. In that regard, I wish to state that the mantra ‘Zimbabwe is open for business and the ease of doing business initiatives are underpinned by an unshakable resolve to ensure that decent work is attained in all the jobs that we envisage to create.”

Minister Nzenza said unity was key in finding solutions to challenges facing the country.

“The resolution of the socio-economic challenges we currently face require close cooperation as never before,” she said.

She said Zimbabwe remained committed to fulfilling, in practice and legislation, the principles of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which it ratified.

As such, Minister Nzenza said, Government was working on the TNF.

“We believe that this social dialogue platform affords the social partners a genuine opportunity to exchange ideas that can facilitate the growth of the economy, through greater investment, productivity and innovation,” she said.

“I hope that the August House will pass the TNF Bill when it resumes its business this month. The Bill, which is before Parliament at the second reading stage, will provide the necessary legislative framework to ensure greater accountability effectiveness in the work of the TNF.

“Accordingly, the TNF will emerge as a strong and vibrant institution capable of greater contribution to the development of the country.”

The functions of the forum include consulting and negotiating over social and economic issues and submitting recommendations to Cabinet.

It will negotiate a social contract as and when necessary and foster cooperation of the tripartite constituents and consult other key stakeholders and contribute to the formulation and implementation of social and economic policies.

The TNF will also follow up and monitor the implementation of agreements.

Minister Nzenza said “We underline that our principal role as Government will remain that of creating an enabling policy and legal environment for social partners to enjoy their rights and establish sustainable enterprises.

“Government, therefore, remains committed to collaborating with business and labour to ensure that workers are protected and that business thrives.

“In recognition of the foregoing, Government remains seized with the goal of stabilising and growing our economy while also ensuring labour market stability in the country through continuous dialogue aimed at modernising and harmonising our labour laws so that they equitably respond to the needs of workers and employers.”