HARARE – Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima, says Zimbabwe needs to work on urgent and robust measures that allow for inclusive economic growth and reduce the inequality gap that exists between the “haves and the have-nots.”
This, he said will ensure every Zimbabwean across the political divide benefits from the vast natural wealth available in the country. Zimbabwe has natural resources ranging from mineral deposits, tourist attractions and good weather favourable for agriculture production. This is in addition to skilled human resources. However, there are still economic injustices prevalent as there are extremely rich and poor people.
“The truth is we don’t have time, we need to work hard now and ensure inclusive growth, so that everyone benefits from what we have as a country,” he said during a virtual meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), which was part of week-long global commemorations in the fight against economic inequality.
“Zimbabwe needs to make serious decisions now for economic growth, we need to come together across the political divide and build our economy. We already have the fundamentals,” he said.
Experts who also participated during the virtual meeting, also highlighted the inequalities that continue to widen between the ordinary Zimbabweans and the elite, where access to resources, means of production and education become limited to the poor.
The outbreak of the pandemic has worsened the situation especially in the education sector where virtual learning has become the norm with the less privileged and those in rural schools being completely left behind.
Statistics show that global inequality has increased by 11 percent in the recent past. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) indicates that the richest 10 percent have up to 40 percent of global income whereas the poorest 10 percent earn only between 2 percent to 7 percent.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has widened inequality gaps across gender, disability, regional, class, racial, generational and other divides. It has laid bare the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on different groups leaving the majority poor worse off in a context of austerity, over taxation, weak social protection mechanisms and rampant corruption in the distribution of resources.
“In particular, lockdown restrictions constrain the informal economy which provides livelihoods for the working poor. Marginalised communities have struggled not only to protect themselves from infection but also to meet their basic needs for a decent livelihood and cannot afford lifesaving ventilators when required,” said ZIMCODD executive director Janet Zhou.
Gender inequalities have also continued to widen as Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated inequalities largely through increased unpaid care work by women.
Civic groups have outlined a number of issues governments all over need to look at to reduce inequalities and these include but not limited to tax justice, debt justice, gender justice and climate justice as well as equity in access to Covid- 19 treatments. – Herald