HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF ZAMBIA GRACES THE 2017 LABOUR DAY

TODAY MARKS ANOTHER GREAT CELEBRATION ON OUR LABOUR CALENDAR, THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR DAY, AND WE JOIN THE REST OF THE WORLD TO RECOGNISE THE CONTRIBUTION OF WORKERS TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
THIS LABOUR DAY CELEBRATION CONSTITUTES A NATIONAL TRIBUTE TO THE CONTRIBUTIONS AND SACRIFICES OUR WORKERS HAVE MADE TO THE DEVELOPMENT AND PROSPERITY OF OUR COUNTRY. THIS LABOUR DAY COMES AT A TIME WHEN, AS A NATION, WE REQUIRE SERIOUS TRANSFORMATION IN THE WAY WE APPROACH THE DEVELOPMENT OF OUR NATION.
IT IS, ESPECIALLY TRUE, IN RELATION TO THIS YEAR’S THEME WHICH CHALLENGES US TO “SECURE DECENT WORK FOR SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT”.

I WISH, THEREFORE, TO REITERATE MY WORDS FROM THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS THAT, TRANSFORMATION IS NOT FOR GOVERNMENT ALONE BUT MUST BE EMBRACED BY ALL STAKEHOLDERS. EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP AT ALL LEVELS IS A KEY FACTOR IN ACHIEVING SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATION.
IN LINE WITH THIS YEAR’S THEME, THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION (ILO) EXPLAINS DECENT WORK AS:

1. OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORK THAT IS PRODUCTIVE AND DELIVER A FAIR INCOME;
2. SECURITY IN THE WORKPLACE AND SOCIAL PROTECTION FOR FAMILIES;
3. BETTER PROSPECTS FOR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL INTEGRATION; AND
4. FREEDOM FOR PEOPLE TO EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS, ORGANISE AND PARTICIPATE IN THE DECISIONS THAT AFFECT THEIR LIVES AND EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY AND TREATMENT FOR ALL WOMEN AND MEN.
IT IS CLEAR THAT THE QUEST TO ATTAIN THESE PILLARS IS A CONTINUOUS PROCESS FOR US TO BETTER THE LIVES OF WORKERS HENCE THE THEME FOR OUR COMMEMORATION THIS YEAR.

WE CANNOT CLAIM TO HAVE REACHED PERFECTION. WE CANNOT RELAX AND ASSUME ALL WORKERS ARE COMFORTABLE IN THE WORK PLACES. WE SURELY CANNOT LEAVE ANY WORKER BEHIND. THEREFORE, MY GOVERNMENT WILL WORK TOWARDS ENSURING THAT THIS IS ACHIEVED FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL THE PEOPLE OF OUR GREAT NATION, ZAMBIA.

THE PF GOVERNMENT ATTACHES GREAT IMPORTANCE TO THE PROMOTION AND REALISATION OF DECENT WORK WITHOUT WHICH, NO SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CAN TAKE PLACE.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

WE ARE DETERMINED TO ACTUALISE DECENT WORK FOR ALL BY IMPLEMENTING POLICIES, STRATEGIES AND PROGRAMMES THAT WILL FOSTER SUSTAINABLE SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THIS WILL SIGNIFICANTLY CONTRIBUTE TO REALISING EMPLOYMENT CREATION, HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND BROAD BASED INCLUSIVE GROWTH.

IN THIS REGARD, SPECIAL ATTENTION HAS BEEN PLACED ON INCREASED INVESTMENT IN INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT SUCH AS ROADS, SCHOOLS AND HEALTH FACILITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO LAY A FIRM FOUNDATION FOR INCREASED INVESTMENT IN OTHER AREAS OF THE ECONOMY AND HENCEFORTH, CREATE THE MUCH NEEDED JOBS FOR OUR CITIZENS.

IN ADDITION, WE CONTINUE TO INVEST IN THE AGRICULTURE AND TOURISM SECTORS THAT HAVE THE HIGHEST POTENTIAL TO CREATE WEALTH AND EMPLOYMENT FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE, IF WE ALL EMBRACE HIGH PRODUCTIVITY.

AS PAUL J. MEYER, AN ACCLAIMED AUTHOR ABLY PUT IT:

“PRODUCTIVITY IS NEVER AN ACCIDENT. IT IS ALWAYS THE RESULT OF A COMMITMENT TO EXCELLENCE, INTELLIGENT PLANNING, AND FOCUSED EFFORT.”

THIS IS THE TRANSFORMATION AGENDA WE HAVE EMBARKED ON AS A NATION AND WE WILL CONTINUE TO DO SO. INDEED, HIGH PRODUCTIVITY WILL NOT BE ATTAINED WITHOUT TRANSFORMING THE WAY WE THINK AND THE WAY WE DO THINGS.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

MY GOVERNMENT INTENDS TO CREATE, AT THE MINIMUM, 200,000 DECENT JOBS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. FOR US TO ATTAIN THIS GOAL OF HIGHER GROWTH IN EMPLOYMENT, GOVERNMENT HAS FINALISED THE SEVENTH NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN WHICH IS UNDERPINNED BY APPROPRIATE POLICIES AND STRUCTURAL REFORMS TO BE IMPLEMENTED OVER THE MEDIUM TERM.

THE PLAN HIGHLIGHTS OUR PRIORITIES WHICH INCLUDE, ECONOMIC DIVERSIFICATION AND JOB CREATION, REDUCED POVERTY AND VULNERABILITY, ENHANCED HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, REDUCED DEVELOPMENTAL INEQUALITIES, AND CREATING A CONDUCIVE GOVERNANCE ENVIRONMENT FOR A DIVERSIFIED ECONOMY, AMONG OTHERS.

IN THIS REGARD, OUR GOAL AS A NATION IS TO ENSURE THAT ALL MEN, WOMEN, YOUTHS, CHILDREN, DIFFERENTLY ABLED PERSONS AND VULNERABLE PEOPLE ARE NOT LEFT BEHIND, AS WE MOVE THE COUNTRY FORWARD TO GREATER PROSPERITY.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS A MEMBER OF THE UNITED NATIONS, OUR COUNTRY IS DETERMINED TO REALISE THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NUMBER 8 WHICH FOCUSES ON DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH, IN LINE WITH OUR THEME.

IN ORDER TO FOSTER ECONOMIC GROWTH, MY GOVERNMENT HAS MADE HUGE STRIDES IN DIVERSIFYING THE ECONOMY. WE ARE GRADUALLY, MOVING AWAY FROM OVER DEPENDENCY ON COPPER TO FOCUSING ON GEMSTONES AND OTHER PRECIOUS MINERALS.

EMPHASIS IS ALSO BEING PUT ON OTHER NON-TRADITIONAL EXPORT SECTORS SUCH AS AGRICULTURE AND TOURISM. THESE SECTORS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO US MAINLY BECAUSE OF THE BENEFITS OF FOOD SECURITY, AS WELL AS WEALTH AND JOB CREATION.

TO ACTUALISE THIS DIVERSIFICATION FOCUS, GOVERNMENT IS PROMOTING AND SUPPORTING ARTISANAL AND SMALL SCALE MINERS. THIS IS COUPLED WITH CAPACITY BUILDING INITIATIVES TO ENHANCE THEIR SKILLS AND COMPETENCES.

GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO RECEIVED FINANCING WORTH THIRTY MILLION UNITED STATES DOLLARS (US$30 MILLION) FROM THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK TOWARDS THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP PROJECT.

THIS PROJECT IS AIMED AT SUPPORTING FINANCING AND IMPLEMENTATION OF INDUSTRIAL YARDS IN SELECTED DISTRICTS WHERE VALUE ADDITION PROGRAMMES WILL BE UNDERTAKEN SPECIFICALLY, THE CASSAVA COMMERCIALISATION INITIATIVE.

APART FROM SUPPORTING SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP, THE PROJECT WILL ALSO CREATE MORE THAN 16, 000 JOBS FOR OUR MEN, WOMEN AND THE YOUTH.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

THE DIVERSIFICATION OF OUR ECONOMY WILL NOT COMPROMISE THE COUNTRY’S DECENT WORK AGENDA BECAUSE GOVERNMENT REMAINS COMMITTED TO ENSURING THAT THE JOBS WHICH ARE BEING CREATED UNDER THE DIVERSIFICATION PROGRAMMES DO NOT COME AT THE EXPENSE OF HUMAN DIGNITY.

GOVERNMENT IS COMMITTED TO PROMOTING FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES AND WORKERS’ RIGHTS AT PLACES OF WORK, THESE INCLUDE, THE RIGHT TO ORGANISE, THE RIGHT TO COLLECTIVE BARGAINING, SOCIAL DIALOGUE AND THE RIGHT TO EQUAL PAY FOR WORK OF EQUAL VALUE, AMONG OTHERS.

PROTECTION OF WORKERS’ RIGHTS IS CRITICAL TO SECURING DECENT WORK. GOVERNMENT WILL ENSURE THAT LAWS SAFEGUARDING WORKERS’ AND EMPLOYERS’ RIGHTS IN THE WORKPLACE ARE FULLY ENFORCED BY CONDUCTING CONSISTENT LABOUR INSPECTIONS. AS SUCH, WE HAVE OFFICERS AT BOTH PROVINCIAL AND DISTRICT LEVELS. I WISH, THEREFORE, TO URGE THE EMPLOYERS TO WORK WITH OUR OFFICERS FOR THE GOOD OF ALL WORKERS.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

SOCIAL DIALOGUE IS CRITICAL IN BUILDING A MORE INCLUSIVE, EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY. THIS REQUIRES RESPECT FOR TRADE UNION AND EMPLOYER RIGHTS, SETTING UP THE RIGHT MECHANISMS FOR DIALOGUE ACROSS SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC POLICY AREAS, AND BUILDING THE CAPACITY OF CONSTITUENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH DIALOGUE.

IN THIS REGARD, I URGE TRADE UNIONS AND EMPLOYERS, TO HOLD CONSULTATIVE MEETINGS ON MATTERS THAT ADVANCE THE EFFORTS FOR DECENT WORK.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
MY GOVERNMENT HAS EMBARKED ON SOCIAL SECURITY REFORMS BECAUSE THE SOCIAL PROTECTION SYSTEM IN ZAMBIA HAS NOT ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED THE SOCIAL SECURITY NEEDS OF ALL THE ZAMBIAN PEOPLE. SOCIAL SECURITY HAS BEEN CONFINED TO THE FORMAL SECTOR WHILE THE MAJORITY ZAMBIAN WORKERS ARE IN THE INFORMAL SECTOR.

TO THIS EFFECT, MY GOVERNMENT HAS CONSTITUTED A TECHNICAL WORKING GROUP TO DESIGN THE ROAD MAP AND STRATEGIES TO ALSO COVER THE INFORMAL SECTOR. THESE CONSULTATIONS HAVE REACHED AN ADVANCED STAGE.

CURRENTLY, THE NATIONAL PENSION SCHEME AUTHORITY AND WORKERS COMPENSATION FUND CONTROL BOARD, WITH THE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FROM INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANISATION, ARE PILOTING SCHEMES TARGETING WORKERS IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
GOVERNMENT ALSO ATTACHES GREAT IMPORTANCE TO MATTERS OF MATERNITY PROTECTION WITHIN THE BROADER FRAMEWORK OF SOCIAL SECURITY AND GENDER EQUALITY AND EQUITY. WE ARE, THEREFORE, WORKING TOWARDS IMPLEMENTING STRATEGIC INTERVENTIONS TO PROMOTE GENDER EQUITY IN THE WORKFORCE INCLUDING THE HEALTH AND SAFETY OF MOTHERS AND CHILDREN.

THESE INTERVENTIONS WILL ENSURE NO OBLIGATION FOR PREGNANT OR BREAST FEEDING MOTHERS TO PERFORM WORK WHICH IS EITHER PREJUDICIAL TO THEIR HEALTH OR THEIR CHILDREN AND GUARANTEED MATERNITY AND PATERNITY LEAVE.

IN AN EFFORT TO ENHANCE MATERNITY PROTECTION, GOVERNMENT HAS APPOINTED A TRIPARTITE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE WITH REPRESENTATION FROM KEY STAKEHOLDERS TO IDENTIFY AREAS OF MATERNITY PROTECTION THAT CAN BE FURTHER IMPROVED UPON. AS A NATION, WE CELEBRATE MOTHERHOOD AND THEREFORE, SECURING DECENT WORK REQUIRES THAT WE DO NOT MISTREAT OUR WORKING MOTHERS.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
WITH REGARD TO SOCIAL HEALTH INSURANCE, THE GOVERNMENT IS IN THE PROCESS OF SETTING-UP AND IMPLEMENTING AN INCLUSIVE MANDATORY SOCIAL HEALTH INSURANCE SCHEME. THE SCHEME WILL ENABLE ALL CITIZENS TO ACCESS QUALITY HEALTH SERVICES IN A TIMELY MANNER AND WITHOUT FINANCIAL HARDSHIP, INCLUDING ENSURING THAT THE MOST VULNERABLE ARE GRANTED ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES. AS GOVERNMENT, WE BELIEVE THAT ACCESS TO HEALTH IS AN IMPORTANT INGREDIENT OF OUR DECENT WORK AGENDA.
WE ENCOURAGE THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN THE SCHEME AND INCREASE INVESTMENTS IN THE HEALTH SECTOR ESPECIALLY THAT IT WILL PROVIDE GREATER CHOICE AND COMPETITION. WITH SUCH OPPORTUNITIES, WE EXPECT A HEALTHY WORKFORCE WHICH WILL RESULT IN INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND ECONOMIC GROWTH.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

IN LINE WITH THE TRANSFORMATIONAL AGENDA FOR A SMART ZAMBIA, DEVELOPING A POSITIVE WORK CULTURE ACROSS ALL SECTORS IS CARDINAL. IT IS THROUGH THIS THAT WE CAN INCREASE PRODUCTIVITY AND, THEREFORE, SUSTAINABLY ACCELERATE ECONOMIC GROWTH AND ULTIMATELY IMPROVE THE LIVING STANDARDS OF THE PEOPLE.

I CALL UPON ALL EMPLOYERS TO ENSURE THAT EFFORTS ARE MADE TO INCREASE OUR PRODUCTIVITY. I AM CONVINCED THAT PRODUCTIVITY WILL NOT ONLY LEAD TO SUSTAINED ECONOMIC GROWTH.

PRODUCTIVITY IS ALSO A SURE WAY OF UPLIFTING THE LIVING STANDARDS OF OUR PEOPLE, HIGHER PROFITABILITY FOR THE ENTERPRISE, IMPROVED ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE NATION, BETTER CONDITIONS OF SERVICE FOR THE WORKERS, BETTER SERVICES FOR THE CLIENTS INCLUDING LONG TERM COMPETITIVENESS FOR THE NATION.

FELLOW WORKERS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,

AS WE CELEBRATE LABOUR DAY, I CALL UPON YOU, MY FELLOW WORKERS, TO BE INSPIRED BY THIS YEAR’S LABOUR DAY THEME. CONSIDER AND CELEBRATE THE INNOVATIONS, IDEAS, SACRIFICES, HARD WORK AND CONTRIBUTIONS THAT WE HAVE MADE TOWARDS NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT. UPHOLD THE VALUES, PRINCIPLES AND BELIEFS THAT HAVE BOUND US AS A CHRISTIAN NATION.

LET US CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE PRESERVATION OF THESE POSITIVE ATTRIBUTES AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF ALL ZAMBIANS FOR IT IS BY WORKING TOGETHER, RESPECTING ONE ANOTHER’S IDEAS VALUES AND PUTTING THE INTEREST OF OUR NATION FIRST, THAT WE WILL ACHIEVE EVEN GREATER SUCCESS.
LET US WORK TOGETHER, LET US RESPECT AUTHORITY, LET US BE UNITED AS A NATION AND SAY NO TO ANY ACTS THAT WOULD LEAD TO DIVIDING THIS PEACE LOVING COUNTRY. GOD HAS TIME FOR EVERYTHING AND FOR EVERYONE.
AS WORKERS, LET US PREACH PEACE THROUGH OUR MOTTO OF
“ONE ZAMBIA, ONE NATION.”
MAY GOD BLESS ALL THE WORKERS,
MAY GOD BLESS ZAMBIA,
I THANK YOU ALL.

ISSUED BY Cecilia Lubumbashi Mulenga (Mrs), Chief Analyst-Press and Public Relations
1 MAY, 2017

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