By Daniel Chigundu
FINANCE and Economic Development minister Patrick Chinamasa has urged unemployed Zimbabweans to create jobs for themselves and not expect government to do it for them.
Unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is said to be in the region of 90 percent owing to massive company closures, retrenchments and economic decay that has rendered the economy more informal.
However, in its 2013 election manifesto, Zanu PF promised to create about 2.2 million jobs from 2013 to 2018, but up to now there hasn’t been much progress in that direction.
In 2015 alone about 20 000 people lost their jobs following a court ruling on the Zuva case where employers were given the node to fire workers on three months’ notice.
Minister Chinamasa told Parliament that people were wrong to expect government to create jobs for them, adding that they need to change their archaic thinking.
“Our problem Mr. Speaker Sir is that we still think in the old ways. We have all been damaged mentally by colonialism and we define ourselves in new terms. We should try very hard to define ourselves in new language, in new terms. Define ourselves as people who can do it.
“The major problem that we confront among our people is the damage of colonialism made them feel they are incapable, made them feel they are just workers, they have to look for employment, and made them feel they cannot be employers.
“It is very catalytic. If you at children from the white community and children from the black community at same school. At the school in primary, the white boy is now saying, I am going to be an employer, yet the black boy is saying, I am going to look for employment. That is the mind shift that we have.
“As people mourn, where is employment? They never asked themselves, what employment am I creating for other people. All they can think is where is the employment? Who is going to give that employment to you and your community? Who is going to create it? Government cannot create employment. What Government can do is to create a conducive environment for those who are creative, who are entrepreneurs to create jobs and make money for themselves,” he said.
Chinamasa added that instead of mourning and asking for jobs, people should be asking government for an enabling environment that will help them to create their own jobs.
“People should be asking us, coming to Government to say, please your environment is not conducive enough to do a, b, c and d. We are quite happy and we will listen.
“The period we are going through in terms of the development of our economy is a transitional period. Formal businesses collapsed. I want to say that in 2000, there were two million people in formal employment. Over the years, because of the challenges that we have faced, we now have only half a million. This means the rest of the people are now in the informal sector.
“According to the 2012 FinScope Survey, 5.8 million people are employed in the informal sector and there are 3.8 million businesses employing those 5.8 million people. So, it is very important for us to understand and situate ourselves as to where we are,” said Chinamasa.
Contrary to Chinamasa, most entrepreneurs are struggling to keep their ventures operating or growing owing to lack of supporting funds and suitable working spaces in the country.
Government is currently putting every effort remove entrepreneurial vendors from the streets where they are trying to sale their various wares to make a living.
At one time Vendors had to engage the courts of law to stop evictions, but the municipal police with the help of Zimbabwe Republic Police have been defying the court order here and there.