The law can be amended – Mugabe


President Robert Mugabe

PRESIDENT Mugabe has called for the urgent amendment of the Labour Act Act which has triggered an avalanche of job losses in the country based on the recent Supreme Court ruling on termination on three months notice.

Addressing guests attending the Global Small to Mediums Enterprises Expo, President Mugabe said the Labour Relations Act was giving workers a hard time therefore it should be amended.

“The law can be dry dry, dry, dry, dry, as Charles Dickens said, the law is an ass. It can rule, however the law is there to serve the people and not the people to serve the law. If the law creates problems for the people, then that law must be amended. You don’t blame the judges because they interpret the law,” he said adding “we admit in some cases there were ridiculous issues that without business, workers would still be kept and paid

“Some companies are going down, some are closing operations. We are against the dismissal of workers. There may be a law which gives more power to employers, of course they own businesses. No one can dispute that if you no longer need workers, you can give them three months’ notice before terminating their contracts.”

“However we do not want to see people suffering in the streets. It is better to reduce wages than send people home as they still have to pay rentals and other bills. We will look at how companies should handle their workers as the numbers of sacked employees has now surpassed the 9000 mark,” he said.

He paid tribute to the SME sector for s sustaining the economy as it currently contributing 50% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employs 60% of the population.

President Mugabe urged the SME sector to continue improving the quality of their products so as to remain competitive on the global market.

“The informal sector has sustained our country, so greatly resistant to political and economic enemies. Locally, SME’s employ more than 60% of the country’s workforce and contributes over 50% to the country’s GDP. SME’s are producing products of international standards and exporting to international markets.

“SMEs should however continue to improve their products as they have to remain competitive and grow from informal to formal. I urge SMEs to work with Government and the private sector so that they can be capacitated to increase the quantities they produce. I am happy that SMEs have embraced the concept of value addition as enunciated in ZIMASSET,” he said.

He said SMEs should create joint ventures to enable them to access far-from-home raw materials, new markets, and imported technology and managerial expertise.

He also called on the SME ministry to ensure that 25% of all Government tenders are reserved for the sector in accordance with the SME Act.

On agriculture, the President said one third of the $9 8mln credit line from Brazil has since been utilised in procurement and distribution of agricultural machinery to small holder farmers a move which is expected to transform the agricultural sector this year.

Weighing in on the vendor relocation debate, he urged vendors to co-operate with Government by moving to designated selling points. -FinX