Lungu’s Labour Day speech on point
Published On May 1, 2016 » 2615 Views» By Bennet Simbeye » Opinion
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IN 2 Thessalonians 3:10 New King James Version (NKJV) the Bible tells us that “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.” Zambians should bear in mind that work is divine and thus connected to our very existence on earth. For this reason, President Edgar Lungu’s Labour Day speech to implore the country’s workforce to remain committed to duty and increase input to enhance productivity should be taken seriously. The President said it was his and the entire country’s expectation that workers would remain steadfast in the wake of duty for both the public and private sectors to flourish. True to the President’s acute observation, workers are a key factor in the production of goods and services which can only be realised through individual hard work if the nation’s economy can improve. No matter how good Government policies are, there can never be development in a nation of lazy citizens. All countries that have developed have made it with massive labour input from the citizenry. African countries should take a leaf from China and Japan where hard work is adhered to religiously. Let’s face it, Africans are comparatively lazy, partially explaining why many countries on the continent are poor. According to the Global Talent Competiveness Index (GTCI 2013), many African countries perform dismally largely because they have invested poorly in hard work. In the 103 Country Index, African countries occupied positions edging towards the 100 with Kenya occupying position 95, Senegal 93, Algeria 103, Tanzania 97 and Ethiopia 99. The most top-ranked country in Africa was South Africa at position 55 in an index topped by Switzerland. Consider that it has been 50 years since most African countries gained their independence but many of them have had little to show in terms of human capital development. Zambians have to learn from the Chinese since an average Chinese worker puts in somewhere between 2,000 and 2,200 hours each year, according to Wang Qi, a researcher at Beijing Normal University. The hard work has paid dividends since China has had a high economic growth rate of approximately 10 per cent annually for about 30 years, creating an economic miracle that few will dispute. The economic miracle started after Chairman Mao’s death in 1976 and has played an instrumental role in China’s economic growth. Other benefits of hard work include the country having a huge public employee population limiting unemployment. Note that despite China having a huge population it is rare to hear stories of unemployment or food shortages. For Zambia to develop, there is need to invest in labour and compliment the Government’s efforts if the country has to forge ahead.

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