Minister bemoans lack of social protection


PUBLIC Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Prisca Mupfumira has bemoaned the lack of social protection in the country, particularly for people in rural areas and those working in the informal sector.

Speaking on the sidelines of the ongoing 41st session of African Regional Labour Administration Centre conference held in Victoria Falls, Mupfumira said the ministry was trying to come up with a policy that would protect people in both formal and informal sector, as social protection was important.

“In our country, we have a lot of people who are not protected like people who are not working and those in the informal sector,” she said.

“So we are trying to come up with a policy which will assist people in the formal, informal and agricultural sectors.

“The informal sector contributes quite a significant percentage of employment to our economy.”

Mupfumira said the national health insurance, which is to be introduced together with the maternity scheme, was operational in most countries and was expected to benefit majority of the population.

“We do have private medical aid societies which cater for just a few people, not even 10% of the population, so what we are trying to look at and discuss is how we can have social security for people who are not catered for by medical aid,” she said.

“We are trying to make sure that it is inclusive of rural people, formal and informal sector.”

Mupfumira urged companies to think of innovative ways to help the economy grow and increase productivity instead of considering retrenchment, as it had a cost factor on its own, despite the hardships and loss of production.

“The ministry encourages the employers and employees to respect and abide by the laws of the country and seek proper channels of finding resolutions like payment plans,” she said.

However, the minister said despite the present challenges being faced by industry, the government was hoping through ZimAsset, jobs would be created by 2018.

“The rate of unemployment, according to Zimbabwe Statistical Agency stands at 11%, which includes agriculture workers and those in the informal sector,” she said.

“ZimAsset is just at the beginning, but we are hoping by 2018 we would have created jobs looking at mining and tourism sector.”