President Edgar Lungu assures decent works to Zambians.

President Edgar Lungu says government is determined to actualize decent work for all Zambians in the country.

President Lungu says this will be done through implementation of policies, strategies and programmes that will foster sustainable socio-economic development.

He said this during this year’s world Labour Day in Lusaka under the theme “securing descent work for sustainable social-economic development”.

President Lungu said in this regard, special attention has been placed on increased investment in infrastructure development such as roads, schools and health facilities across the country to lay a firm foundation for increased investment in other areas of the economy and henceforth, create the much needed jobs for citizens.

He said in addition, government continues to invest in the agriculture and tourism sectors that have the highest potential to create wealth and employment for the majority of the people.

The president said government intends to create, at the minimum, 200,000 decent jobs on an annual basis.

And responding to concerns over the political situation in the country, President Lungu said people calling for tolerance and dialogue, should also ask those, who have failed to accept defeat to do so.

He explained that he is ready to dialogue, but can only do so if other political players are also ready.

And speaking earlier, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions, ZCTU president, Chishimba Nkole, said there is need for employers to pay their workers descent salaries.

He said that this will encourage the employees to be fully committed and more productive.

Mr. Nkole also expressed concern with the delays by government to follow agreements with Labour unions, following discussions over conditions of service, which is now being viewed as an indirect wage freeze by government.

Mr. Nkole also said his union does not support the proposed ideas of raising the mandatory retirement age to 65, as such a move will deny young people a chance to enter the Labour market.

He also advised government not to allow ZESCO to effect the proposed electricity tariffs, to which President Edgar Lungu said the move should be supported regardless of the hardships it may bring in order to promote investment in the energy sector.

Zambia’s political situation worries the clergy

A clergyman in Chadiza district has expressed worry over the current political situation in some parts of the country.

Pastor Onias Tembo of Grace Ministries says that the current political situation where people are burning institutions and markets is very worrying.

Reverend Tembo says that destroying buildings and properties will not solve the problems at hand but affect development in the country.

He advised all political leaders to tame their cadres and engage in dialogue as the best way of expressing their anger.

The Reverend says that Zambians ought to love one another regardless of their tribal or political affiliations.

And Pastor James Mphanza of RCZ, Reformed Church in Zambia says that every person has an obligation to submit to the governing authorities.

Pastor Mphanza says that anyone who does not submit to the governing authorities, rebels against the law of the land.

He stated that the church can never be separated from the government adding that the church will always support the government of the day.

The two clergymen were speaking during the inter-domination prayers organised by the District Pastors Fellowship Association to pray for peace of the nation and successful construction of the national house of prayer in Lusaka.

Contractor refuses to hand over completed project

A contractor has refused to hand over to government an agriculture training college in Nyimba District because of debt.

District Agriculture Coordinator James Ngamila confirmed to Breeze News in a telephone interview, stating that government owes Juan Swang over one million kwacha.

Mr. Ngamila says that the contractor has indicated that the college will only be handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture after it pays the one million one hundred and eighty four thousand kwacha for the works done.

Mr. Ngamila says the issue was forwarded to the Minister of Agriculture who has further forwarded the matter to the Ministry of Finance for payment.

He says the project which was funded by African Development Bank was started in 2005 and it has passed through three contractors before it was completed in 2016.

Mr. Ngamila says the training college is 100 percent complete after Juan Swang a Chinese company took over the works in 2015.

He says the college will only open after government has completed paying the money.

Cotton farmers assured of good buying prices

Cotton growers in Zambia have been assured of good prices for cotton during this marketing season.

This came to light during E-Payment farmer sensitisation meeting held in Chipungu village of Petauke district.

Speaking at the meeting, Zambia Cotton Ginners Association Executive Secretary Bourne Chooka stated that the price of cotton is expected to be higher than any other crop this year.

He stated that one of the cotton companies had already announced that it would buy the produce at 3 Kwacha 70 Ngwee per kilogramme.

Mr. Chooka also encouraged cotton farmers in Petauke to continue growing cotton and increase production for it to more rewarding.

Petauke and Nyimba districts are on the pilot project to use Electronic payment system for cotton farmers this year.

Union says no need to celebrate Labour Day

Workers in the hotel and tourism industry in Eastern Province say that there is no need to celebrate Labour Day, which falls today.

Hotel Catering Tourism and Allied Workers Union of Zambia Regional Organising Secretary, Zephaniah Kaleya says that the poor salaries which the workers are getting do not inspire them to appreciate Labour Day.

Speaking to Breeze News, Mr. Kaleya says that most lodge owners have not yet complied with the government minimum wage of 700 Kwacha per month.

He further says that the minimum wage has been misunderstood by most lodge owners to restrict the monthly salaries to not more than 700 Kwacha.

Mr. Kaleya says that most lodge owners have been avoiding meetings with the union and prefer to send their managers who cannot make decisions on revising salaries for their workers.

He says that government needs to move in and assist the workers, who are subjected to poor working conditions.

Teachers hammered with deductions after wrong allowances

The Ministry of General Education has revealed that about 20 teachers in Chipata district have had their salaries deducted this month.

Provincial Education Officer, Allan Lingambe told Breeze News that the salary deductions were due to some illegal allowances that the teachers were getting.

Dr. Lingambe says the 20 teachers were revealed in the auditor general’s report that they had been getting some allowances that they were not entitled to.

He says this prompted the Ministry to start recovering the allowances by deducting from the teachers’ salaries.

Dr. Lingambe however, could not mention what type of allowances the teachers were getting, stating that it will be known when the April payslips are printed out next week.

Some teachers in Chipata last week complained of deductions ranging from 200 to 3, 500 Kwacha in their April salaries.