Lusaka Times, July 14, 2012
The Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection has acknowledged the new minimum wage announcement by the Minister of Labour, Fackson Shamenda stating that it shows that the government is cognisant of the need for workers’ salaries and wages.
They have observed that over the last year, the cost of living as depicted by JCTR’s Basic Needs Basket (BNB) had remained about K2.9m with the most recent figure being K3, 395,660 for the month of June 2012 for an average family size of five living in Lusaka.
The organisation says among some of the findings of the JCTR Satellite Homes research, a compliment to the BNB survey had been that low incomes and a high cost of living were having an adverse impact on people’s ability to make savings and access food daily with some households having to skip meals in order to stretch household income to the month end.
The have further stated that Satellite Homes Research conducted in high density townships typically Chainda, Chibolya, Chipata, Garden, Kalingalinga, Kanyama and Ng’ombe showed, the growing challenges of Zambians due to high costs of basic needs including food, accommodation, water and electricity.
And the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International observed that the increase in minimum wages was a positive initiative for workers as they would enjoy higher disposable incomes and thus better options and standards of living.
CUTS national Coordinator Simon Ng’ona however noted that it was over ambitious to subject the same increase across all sectors as sectors differ in terms of performance and market sizes.
Meanwhile, MMD president Nevers Mumba has charged that government has to create competition in the job market to ensure all Zambians benefit from high salaries.
Dr. Mumba said the released minimum wages will result in the massive loss of employment in the country. / QFM.