ZANU-PF’s missing two million jobs


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 It was shut down, and now he is chasing after cars on Kaguvi Street in Harare, selling fake car parts and begging to change filters.

The man pestering you to buy a kitchen cabinet at Glen View home industries probably worked down the road at Tedco, once the country’s largest furniture maker.

He would regale you with tales of making furniture for Nyore Nyore and Radio Ltd, until one day they told him to go home.

They are everywhere.

The backyard tailor once handcrafted Van Heusen shirts at Bernstein in Ardbennie, who lost his job because Truworths began looking downmarket as its traditional high end market collapsed.

If you asked these skilled people where they would rather be, back in the security of formal work or fighting for scarce clients on the streets, their answer would be obvious.

Yet, the government would have them believe they are better off.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa has stood in Parliament and proudly declared: “The old economy is dead; a new economy has arisen.”

The idea that a country can kill off its formal economy and survive only on its informal sector is a lie.

A working paper, done this July for the IMF by Leandro Medina, Andrew Jonelis and Mehmet Cangul, says the loss of jobs in the formal market “has a statistically significant and negative effect on informal economic activity”.

It is easy to see why.

“We believe this may be caused by a complementarity between informal economic activities and formal economic activity” because those that lose jobs in the formal economy “could be the largest consumers in the informal economy”.

The income for those working in informal markets is nowhere near what is claimed.

A 2013 government-FinScope survey found that just 36 percent of small business owners earned more than $200 per month.

SMEs are unable to match the scale of large industries that are able to call on capital and diverse skills.

Besides, the glorification of SMEs would carry more weight if government actually knew enough about the industry it is selling as a saviour.

It doesn’t seem to know.

Continued next page

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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