21 January 2013

Zambia: 'Huge Salary Gaps Distorting Economy'

THE Government has said continued huge salary disparities between management and junior employees in some parastatal and private companies are causing distortions which have impacted negatively on the country's economic growth.

In an interview in Ndola yesterday, Labour and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda said labour was a critical factor of production in any given economy, the reason why Government was concerned about the disparities in salaries which did not only affect workers' commitment to production, but also negatively affecting the country's economic growth.

"The continued production and provision of goods and services by various companies and organisations are important as far as making the country's economic progression is concerned, but huge disparities in salaries do not only lead to industrial disputes but also de-motivate the workers, leading to low productivity in companies or organisations," Mr Shamenda said.

He said the Government was determined to narrow the disparities to promote industrial harmony which leads to increased productivity apart from reducing distortions in the national economy.

The Ministry of Labour, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, has started working on modalities to address the disparities in salaries to end the distortions in the c economy.

"For the sake of making sure that labour as a factor of production continues adding value to the economy through sustained productivity, Government has engaged human resource directors and unions from both public and private entities to come up with the best way to promote productivity through industrial harmony and address disparities in salaries and the distortions it is causing to the country's economy," he said.

He said Chinese-owned firms, which were now active players in the Zambian economy, and other private companies were also being engaged in the Government initiative aimed at sustaining the labour sector's role as one of the key factors in the country's economic growth.

Mr Shamenda said under the planned and sustained programme of using labour in the promotion of productivity and the country's economic growth, Government would soon put in place measures which would compel all Chinese and other foreign-owned firms to employ Zambians as human resource directors.

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