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Government’s over 60 000 jobs in public sector, a case of milking taxpayer dry

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The United Party for National Development (UPND) administration has created a number of jobs in the public sector in line with their electoral promises, however this means more burden to the taxpayer, analysts say.

Basic government economics states that civil servants are paid from National Budgets which means state revenue primarily collected through taxes.

Meanwhile, while the President Hakainde Hichilema led new dawn dispensation is basking in the glory of having had created more jobs in the public sector, analysts believe the government should have put emphasis more on the creation of a good environment for the private sector to flourish and create more jobs, than the other way round which burdens the taxpayer.

In the first 11 months the government created more about 42 000 jobs for the health and teaching ministries and most recently, thousands are being recruited for the census and 5000 military jobs are also in the pipeline.

All these will have to be paid from the state’s coffers, thereby choking the taxpayer.

Meanwhile, the analysts urge that apart from the private sector employing people who are not to be paid through taxpayer’s money through the budget, when the private sector flourish, this also means more taxes for the government through corporate tax.

So all in all critics urge the government to promote the growth of the private sector which would lessen the state’s burden as more money would now go to other projects and not towards salaries as is the case at the moment.

UPND administration’s maiden budget, titled Growth, Jobs and Taking Development Closer to the People, Finance and National Planning Minister, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, emphasized on the need to create jobs through private sector.

He said this is the growth element at the forefront of the New Dawn Government’s ambitious plans to revive Zambia’s ailing economy.

But, as stated by critics, how many jobs has been created in the private sector this far?

Economic analyst, James Mbewe, says if the government want meaningful job creation more efforts should be focused on promoting the growth of the private sector.

He also says the number of people who thronged the stadium during the census recruitment process should be a wake call in as far as the reduction of the unemployment rate is concerned.

“Census is periodical, so such employment is short term.

“After the census period is over, it means those people will be out of employment and back into the streets again,” he says.

Meanwhile, according to Musokotwane, the government is committed to the growth of the private sector, as evidenced by different projects commissioned President Hichilema, in recent times.

Chief among them being the US$250 million investment at the Enterprise Nickel project by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) in North Western Province.

The project, situated in Kalumbila District – about 150 kilometres west of Solwezi – is part of the US$ 1.35 billion expansion investment announced by FQM two months ago.

The nickel project, which is an addition to the FQM Trident-run Sentinel Mine, is expected to produce about 30,000 tonnes of nickel per year.

It will provide 700 direct jobs and several others indirectly for the local people.

Apparently, President Hichilema recently launched the Public Private Dialogue Forum-PPDF, which he said will promote economic development through public-private partnerships.

The Head of State said the social and economic development of the country cannot be left to government alone, as it is not possible for government to deliver development on its own because it does not have all it takes to reconstruct the economy therefore the need to engage the private sector.

Speaking when he officially launched the Public Private Dialogue Forum for Private Sector and Economic Development at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, President Hichilema said government recognises the private sector as the engine for innovation and job creation thus the role of the private sector in realising economic development cannot be underestimated.

He added that the magnitude of job creation and business opportunities would come from the private sector hence it is the responsibility of the public and private sector as well as partner groups to work together and drive economic development for the country.

“In order to ensure meaningful private sector participation in the economy, the PPDF has been established to actualise the potential that the country has been sitting on for decades.

“This will help create jobs and when we create jobs, other underlying issues will fall in place”, President Hichilema said.

President Hichilema mentioned that the contribution of the private sector to economic development in the country in the past years was limited in part by inadequate government uptake of recommendations coming from the private sector but that will now change.

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