THE SOCIALIST Party (SP) will create employment once voted into power with a job-creation strategy centred around the three pillars of its social and political programme; education, health and peasant agriculture. Under the SP government, schools will not be run the way they currently are. We will provide free education from nursery at the age of three all the way to university, and it will be compulsory up to grade 12.
Education will be a major undertaking in this country and will be allocated not less than 25 per cent of the national budget. Under this programme, teachers will not be left to manage and run schools on their own. In order to have an effective, efficient, and orderly system, the running of schools will include other professionals and a broad spectrum of workers, such as human resources personnel, information technology experts, accountants, marketing personnel, cleaners, drivers, mechanics, gardeners, nurses, clinical officers, and catering staff, among others. Schools, colleges and universities will need to be supplied with all sorts of teaching aids and other goods and services, and these will be produced in factories by our people, meaning that education will directly and indirectly be one of the biggest employers.
The health sector will also be used to create a number of jobs. By expanding Zambia’s health services – both in terms of quantity and quality – we will need to employ more people. This will entail a need for more nurses, clinical officers, doctors, pharmacists, radiographers, and many other health and general workers. In addition, our government will prioritise the manufacture of some of the medicines we use, even under licence. We will also need to create factories producing health equipment of all sorts. This, together with many other functions that will be added to health services, will create many more jobs.
Another sector that we will prioritise to create employment is peasant agriculture. And when we say peasant agriculture, we don’t mean that everyone will be carrying a kambwili, hoe and be tillers of land. There’s an urgent need to transform the way peasant agriculture is carried out.
We cannot increase agricultural production with a hoe, that’s for planting flowers around your house and a few beds of vegetables to feed a small family. Our plans are much bigger than that and will involve many jobs being created in the agricultural sector because of the transformations we will make.
Transformative peasant agriculture under this government will need new equipment, that is; appropriate ploughs, planters, harvesters and other necessities. To produce these, we will need to set up factories all over the country employing engineers and their technicians, human resources experts, accountants, IT experts, marketing and sales staff, drivers, mechanics, nurses and clinical officers to ran staff clinics, catering people to manage the staff cafeterias, and so on. Of course, our reality, as it stands today, is that we may not have all the engineering expertise required to set up and run these factories. We may have to rely on expatriate skills while we train our people in our schools, colleges and universities.
We will also need to set up factories producing agricultural chemicals. These will require us to employ a diverse range of scientists and other staff. In addition, we will need to create factories that produce veterinary medicines for our livestock. This undertaking will employ scientists, technicians, HR people, accountants, ICT experts, marketing and sales experts and many others. The medicines produced will need to be administered by vets, working with lab technicians. In this way we will be creating more and more jobs for our people.
And, of course, peasant agriculture will need to be financed. This will require us to create a myriad of financial institutions, such as agriculture banks and insurance companies. These institutions will employ bankers, lawyers, accountants, IT experts, insurance personnel and many others, again creating more and more jobs.
The agricultural output produced by our factories will need to be delivered to our peasant farmers. This will create logistics jobs for drivers, mechanics and other support staff. Furthermore, the cotton we produce in Nyimba, Petauke, Katete, Chipata, Chadiza, Lundazi, Chama and other places, will not leave Eastern Province unprocessed. Textile factories will be established in employing people from all over the country in many, various roles. These factories will be producing reels of all sorts of cloth, but the cloth produced will not be exported as it is.
Clothing factories will be created to design and produce shirts, trousers, dresses, caps, canvas shoes, belts, and many other products. These factories will require sewing machines and needles so small factories will be created to manufacture and service the machines. The clothing factories will further need buttons and zips. The buttons can be produced from the horns of cattle, hard wood and stones, creating even more jobs. And the finished products will need to be packaged. This will require us to create factories producing packaging materials. Drivers will be needed to transport the finished products from the factories to the ports of Dar-es-Salam, Walvis Bay and Durban. Furthermore, delivery trucks will need to be serviced by mechanics. In this way, more jobs will be created.
Our strategies on cotton production and its processing and export will be extended to food crops. Small and large factories will be created all over the country to process agricultural produce. For instance, factories can be built to process tomato into jam, juice, soup, puree or paste. Some of these products can be exported, and some consumed locally, resulting in more jobs. In addition, it is important to also mention that there will be new jobs created in other sectors of our economy, such as mining, construction, forestry, and the provision of the many other services needed in an organised society.
Dr Fred M’membe
Mwika Royal Village, Chinsali.