Why Tanzania 7pc economic growth does not address the employment chall

09Jun 2016
Daniel Semberya
The Guardian
Why Tanzania 7pc economic growth does not address the employment chall

THE government in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and other key stakeholders has embarked on the review of the current National Employment Policy (NEP) which was adopted in 2008, following the review of the first national employment policy in 1997.

Assistant Director labour market, Prime Minister’s Office, Labour Youth, Employment and Disability Ahmed Makbel (3rd Right), and , ILO’s Country Director, Mary Kawar (2nd Left), in a group photo with other key stakeholders during the review of the current National Employment Policy (NEP), in Dar es Salaam.

The guest of honour during the opening of validation workshop of NEP review situation analysis report that was carried out by Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), Assistant Director labour market, Prime Minister’s Office, Labour Youth, Employment and Disability Ahmed Makbel said that the objective of reviewing the policy was to enable the government in collaboration with other stakeholders address the prevailing labour market challenges and promote labour relations.

“The policy emphasised on the importance of the government institutions to work with the private sector to promote decent and productive employment as a national priority,” he said.

He said that since employment creation was a cross cutting issue, its implementation frameworks was also designed to ensure all key stakeholders are involved.

According to him, the review of the current National Employment Policy (NEP) had involved wider range of consultations with stakeholders including government ministries and agencies (MDAs), regional representatives, private sector, employees, civil societies and trade unions.

He further noted that during the implementation of NEP under review, a number of achievements were registered. He mentioned them as the mainstreaming of employment and labour market issues in macro policies and national development programmes, especially the long term perspective plans (LTPP), second five years development plan, Big Result Now (BRN) initiative and some of the sectoral policies and programmes.

Makbel further said that during that period, there were also several national initiatives that were developed and implemented during the implementation of NEP 2008. He mentioned some of those initiatives as facilitating inclusion of employment and decent work in government budget guidelines and annual plans since the financial year 2011/12 to date.

Massive investment in education and training to enhance employability of the national labour force including adoption of the new national education and training policy-2014 that puts skills development as a priority issue; and increased involvement of various stakeholders in designing and implementing employment creation initiatives, among others.

He also revealed that during the stated period, unemployment declined slightly from 11.7 percent in 2006 to 10.3 percent in 2014. On the other hand, youth unemployment increased from 13.4 percent in 2006 to 11.7 percent in 2014.

However, Makbel mentioned some of the challenges that have been facing the labour market as policy issues and employment creation not being translated into action at local levels and in generating significant impacts on unemployment; and unemployment, underemployment and poverty rates especially among the youth and women remains pervasive.

Others are working poverty whereby almost 31.5 percent of the working population in 2012 was identified as working poor this is a serious indication of low labour productivity; and poor skills structure and composition of the national labour force whereby only 3.6 percent of the national labour force is skilled. 16.6 percent are semi skilled and 79.4 percent are unskilled.

For her part, ILO’s Country Director, Mary Kawar said that creating jobs depended on an array of policies that include social policies not just economic policies. “We are not only looking at the number of jobs, but also the quality of jobs and how this relates to overall economic and social governance,” she said.

“ILO is a normative organisation which develops international standards to guide national partners in reaching the optimal levels in addressing the quality and quantity of jobs. The goal of the employment Policy convention, 1964-No.122, which Tanzania has ratified is to promote full productive, and freely chosen employment,” ILO’s boss explained.

In other words: There is work for all who are available for and seeking work; such work is as productive as possible; and there is freedom of choice of employment and equal opportunity.

The Employment Policy convention and others are translated and developed into the decent work agenda, which is based on four strategic objectives: job creation, social protection, rights at work and social dialogue.

“If a policy is not linked to national budgets from the inception stage it will be a still born. Moreover, decisions in budgets should ensure the allocations related to the different sectors that are linked to job growth with equal expenditures allocated for social protection measures, education and other social policies.”

She further noted that Tanzania has been enjoying 7 percent economic growth. This should be a consistent target to take it towards a middle income status. While growth is necessary, it is not a sufficient factor to address the employment challenge.

The growing sectors according to her include communications, administration, and construction, but employ less. She was surprised to see agricultural sector which employs over 70 percent of Tanzanians, was growing less than three percent per year.

She urged participants that were validating the situation analysis that there were two issues that could not be ignored when developing the National Employment Policy. “These are women and the young people.”

She said the Integrated Labour Force Survey (ILFS) revealed that a range of gender inequalities suggesting some barriers at play which prevent adult and young women from attaining their full potential in the labour market.

These include women predominance in vulnerable employment. For example, in unpaid household activities women accounts for 68 percent compared to males 32 percent.

In the public and parastatal organizations, men constitution significant proportions in the more financially lucrative occupations, while women are concentrated within the elementary occupations, characterized by low pay.

In terms of young people: Child labour occupies about one-third of children below the age of 14. Only 1 in 3 children are in lower secondary-less than sub Saharan Africa. And only 4 percent of youth are in university-half that for sub Saharan Africa. And according to ILO nearly 60 percent employed youth are under qualified for the jobs they do.

Director of strategic Research with REPOA, Dr Abel Kinyondo has urged the government to put conducive environment that would attract more investments in the country that would create more employments.

He also urged the public, especially the graduates that they should take subjects that would lead them to self employment, as the employment opportunities offered by both the government and the private sector are so limited.

Meanwhile, Dr Kinyondo has urged the government to implement the available laws that prohibit child labour employment in the country. “The laws that do not allow child labour are there, what is missing is the will to enforce them be implemented.

Most of the people, who are involving in safeguarding child labour in the country, are learned people. These are the ones who keep these children as their houseboys and girls,” he lamented.So, if the government wanted to eliminate this problem, it should impose stern measures against these people, he urged.