By A Correspondent- Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda has said the country needs a strong social contract to build confidence in the governance system and economy towards a successful development agenda.
Conditions of service and salaries for civil servants became topical at the 2022 Parliament pre-budget seminar which ended here on Monday.
Legislators implored Government to review civil servants’ salaries and conditions of service to boost their morale.
The MPs also urged the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Mthuli Ncube to set aside a budget that can cover workers’ conditions.
Various ministerial reports presented at the seminar also advocated for a salary increment in the public service.
Government, business and labour constitute the social partners in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), a social platform for the partners to negotiate mostly conditions of service.
Speaking during the seminar, Adv Mudenda said Government, business and labour should be able to find each other through a sound social contract and pull in the same direction.
He challenged Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima to invoke provisions of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Act of 2019 to ensure there is sound dialogue between the TNF parties.
Adv Mudenda implored the country’s citizens to exude the highest degree of work ethic in carrying out their duties.
“One observation that was noted when we started (the seminar) on Saturday was the question of confidence deficiency in our nation building and development agenda.
Professor Mavima you are encouraged to strengthen involvement in the tripartite agreement forum where labour, business and Government should find each other in terms of visionary thinking in terms of the national agenda,” he said.
“As long as that social contract is not strengthened, labour will think in its own direction, business in its own direction and Government also thinking in its own direction. Where countries have succeeded to develop, these three entities, Government, labour and business must find each other through a well-defined social contract.”
He said Parliament passed legislation to help the TNF partners.
“We passed a law, it is there. Apply it, so that you strengthen the social contract as a measure of building national confidence.
In that context also the question of work ethic should emerge. When you talk of productivity, let us not only think of agriculture or manufacturing, productivity also is required in the offices where the bureaucracy sometimes takes one week to put a signature on a file so that it moves on to the next person, and when a file is waiting for two weeks just for a signature, it’s an indication that there is no productivity in that office.
“So we need to strive for bureaucratic productivity through an inspired work ethic. I request you to be an apostle of that,” said Adv Mudenda.
His sentiments followed a presentation by Prof Mavima who told Parliament that in 2022, Government will push for full operationalisation of the TNF and consolidation of social dialogue.
Prof Mavima chairs the TNF in his capacity as Minister of Public Service. He said there is need to continue to reform the civil service to make it more efficient, responsive and effective.
“This has taken too long Honourable Speaker Sir, and we have to make sure we move as quickly as possible to make sure TNF is operational so that we can bring these partners together to chat a way forward and come up with social contract.
“I agree we cannot have an efficient civil service without providing adequate remuneration as well as pecks otherwise we will have continuous moral hazards within the civil service, corruption and non-performance,” said Prof Mavima.