Workers have kept us going: President

Leroy Dzenga, Harare Bureau
THE growing economic rebound being witnessed in Zimbabwe, characterised by increasing industrial capacity utilisation and a stable macro-economic environment, is a product of the country’s dedicated and hardworking workforce that is focused on development, President Mnangagwa has said.

Speaking during a virtual address to mark the 2021 Workers Day commemorations at State House in Harare yesterday, the President said workers are the pillar upon which the Zimbabwean economy was emerging stronger from the Covid-19 pandemic. He said Government will continue introducing appropriate policies to protect and improve workers’ standards of living, while allowing for businesses to thrive.

“The implementation of our National Development Strategy 1 is on course, with the country now on the path to sustained socio-economic growth. This is anchored on increased production and productivity across all sectors of our economy.

Already, we have begun to witness increases in industrial capacity utilisation, with locally manufactured goods taking up a greater share of shelves in our supermarkets. We owe this remarkable growth to the dedicated, hard and honest work of all our workers across sectors.

I applaud all workers for growing and delivering food onto our tables; mining the minerals, increasing our exports to bring the much-needed foreign currency and producing a wide array of goods and services for the sustainable socio-economic development of our country.”

He implored all workers to scale up production in order to achieve exponential growth, enhance national output and competitiveness. The President paid tribute to workers for their immense sacrifices during the coronavirus pandemic, saying their dedication has kept the country’s economy on the rails. The Covid-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdowns has wreaked havoc in most economies across the world, resulting in company closures and mass layoffs of workers.

“This year’s commemorations come at a time when the world and our country grapple with the distressing burden of the Covid-19 pandemic. In relative terms, we have done very well, although the war is not yet won. On behalf of Government and indeed on my own behalf, I want to salute and commend you the workers and your families for your resolve, dedication, determination and commitment to duty and country during these unprecedented Covid-19 times.

Your sacrifice and continued endurance has kept the wheels of Zimbabwe’s economy turning.”

President Mnangagwa called on workers to receive Covid-19 vaccines under the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme in order to expedite the country’s return to normalcy. Government’s priority during the pandemic is to protect and save lives and Zimbabweans should remain vigilant and continue observing all the recommended Covid-19 prevention protocols.

“No one is safe until everyone is safe,” President Mnangagwa said, adding that under the Second Republic, Zimbabwe had embarked on a journey to fulfil its potential.

“The gloomy picture of 2017 has been replaced by a genuine sense of optimism; optimism that conditions are now in place for our country to fulfil its potential and for our people to thrive. It is this message that we are taking to investors, with the knowledge that their investments will expedite the process of bringing us even closer to fulfilling the dream of our forefathers.”

The President challenged employers to pursue robust ways of addressing the welfare of workers. Government has continued to improve its workers’ welfare through regular salary increases in line with the recovering economy.

“In the spirit of working together, my Government remains committed to putting in place an enabling environment which protects the worker, provides decent work and improves standards of living while allowing businesses to thrive.

In line with the Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and Health Convention, Government, employers and workers alike will continue to invest in occupational safety and health at the workplace. Over and above this, our laws encourage workers and employers to freely engage and associate.

This is in line with the Second Republic’s culture of dialogue and deepening the practice of participatory democracy as well as good governance at the workplace,” President Mnangagwa said.

Organised labour, he said, was a crucial bedrock which has shaped the country’s politics and economy since the days of the liberation struggle. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have emerged as major employers and are now a vital cog in the country’s economy.

As such authorities have set up a dedicated SMEs Foreign Currency Auction Market to allow for this sector to thrive, said the President.

The Zimbabwean economy is projected to grow by over 7 percent this year on the back of an improved agriculture season and increased production in the mining sector. Over 45 percent of goods on supermarket shelves are local products, a testament to improved industrial capacity utilisation which stood at 47 percent, up from 36,4 percent in 2019.

Workers have kept us going: President