GOVERNMENT is geared to tackle unemployment and create jobs for the youth who are expected to play a visible role in the economy, a senior official has said.This comes at a time when unemployment in Zimbabwe is said to be high, with the 2011 Human Development Report indicating a decline in total employment to population ratio from 70,1 percent in 1991 to 64,9 percent in 2010.
The figure has been disputed, with the Government saying the unemployment rate is actually very low and many of those working in the informal sector are not accounted for by such statistics.
Labour and Social Services permanent secretary Mr Lancaster Museka said in an interview that Government was ready to tackle unemployment as mandated under the Decent Work Country Programme for Zimbabwe 2012 to 2015.
"We are saying as the Ministry of Labour we are geared to implementing the decent work agenda, which has four main strategic pillars that are to ensure employment for all and this is done through co-ordination with various ministries and stakeholders," he said.
"As you know, traditionally the ministry of Labour has the role to create employment and ensure that there are fair labour standards."
Mr Museka said this was consistent with Zanu-PF's manifesto, which envisages the creation of 2 265 000 jobs across key sectors of the economy to contribute to export earnings, food security and the fiscus.
"Most of these new jobs will directly benefit the youth who are also expected to play a visible role in the economy," he said.
Mr Museka noted that the ministry would also strive to ensure that employers observed labour standards and adhere to the provisions of the Labour Act.
He said social protection was a priority area and the ministry would ensure through the National Social Security Authority that retrenchees get paid decent benefits.
"This is part of the ministry's mandate of social security to also ensure social protection of vulnerable groups such as the poor and disabled in line with international conventions," said Mr Museka.
In February, the Government in collaboration with the United Nations and other development partners launched the Decent Work Country Programme for Zimbabwe and the "Skills for Youth Employment and Rural Development" (SKILLS II) for the period of 2012-2015.
At the launch, the ministry underscored that the programme was a framework for promoting decent productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and dignity.
It is anchored on four key principles of creating jobs, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection and promoting social dialogue.