28 March 2014

Mozambique: Guebuza Opens Conference On Employment

Maputo — Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared on Thursday that the priority challenges facing the country include job creation, and valuing the spirit of enterprise in order to generate self-employment.

Speaking in Maputo, at the opening of an international conference on “Dialogue for Employment in Mozambique”, Guebuza stressed that the key economic sectors for job creation are agriculture, industry, transport, tourism, fisheries (including aquaculture), energy and services.

“In these sectors of the economy, jobs are created, as are opportunities for self-employment”, he said.

But now mining was gaining in importance. The extractive industry, Guebuza said, was becoming an important creator of employment, but required huge volumes of investment.

He reaffirmed the importance for employment of the District Development Fund (FDD). This is still commonly known as “the seven million”, since it was set up in 2006 as an allocation of seven million meticais (about 230,000 US dollars) from the state budget to each of the 128 districts, in order to provide loans for viable projects that would boost food security and create jobs

Guebuza noted that one of the challenges concerns the skills of the workforce, in order to meet the demand for skilled labour from the major investments under way. The government had therefore set up a scheme of “pre-professional apprenticeships” to allow Mozambicans to acquire experience of work in productive units.

He added that a “Labour Market Observatory” is being set up, which will make it possible to harmonise and summarise quantitative and qualitative information in this area “making it possible to draw up regular and systematic analyses of the evolution of the labour market and its prospects”

The chairperson of the larger of the two Mozambican trade union federations, the OTM, Samuel Matsinhe, told the conference that employment must include promoting better working conditions and wages set in accordance with the real value of the work undertaken. Employers, he insisted, must respected workers' rights and labour legality.

Matsinhe warned that the major investments in mineral resources are not yet visibly reflected in the living conditions of the workers and of the public at large. “This apparent development is far from dealing with the high levels of unemployment in the country”, he said.

Nor had the recent investments led to safe transport systems, good quality roads, and decent education, health and housing, he added.

Matsinhe said that many of the jobs created were short term, and the working conditions were deplorable.

The two day conference is taking place under the theme: “National Dialogue on Employment in Mozambique” job creation in a new economic context”.

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