JOB losses and delayed salaries have become the most prominent symptoms of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown that long assumed crisis proportions.
The latest company to mercilessly throw workers out to the streets is hospitality and retail group Meikles Limited.
Meikles, one of the blue chip companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, last Friday offloaded 100 employers countrywide with the bulk coming from Bulawayo.
According to reports, Miekles Bulawayo retrenched 33 workers out of 43-members of staff based in the country’s second largest city.
The unfortunate developments coincided with an announcement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe that 4 000 workers were retrenched last year alone. Last year’s figure represented a 40% surge in retrenchments compared to job losses the previous year.
If these statistics do not jolt the government of the day, then nothing will ever move authorities from their comfort zones.
Zimbabwe’s economy has been on the doldrums for over a decade now and it is worrying that the trajectory does not seem to be changing especially on the political front.
The economy is facing multifaceted problems, but it would not be farfetched to say most of them are man-made. In 2013, the Zanu PF government promised a quick fix to the problems including facilitating the creation of two million jobs if it was given the mandate to rule alone.
The party duly won an overwhelming majority and President Robert Mugabe was given the mandate to rule alone as he craved. However, instead of building on the gains made by the inclusive government on the economic front, Zanu PF has been embroiled in internecine fights over Mugabe’s succession.
Policy inconsistency, unhelpful rhetoric, and a sustained attack on property rights, which includes a renewed siege against white commercial farmers, are some of the reasons why the economy is sinking.
Mugabe has intensified his foreign travels and Cabinet is not meeting to discuss the emergency as the president is spending more time outside the country.
The government, however, should be warned that these massive job losses could trigger much more serious problems that it might find difficult to contain.