Employers in Zimbabwe say an estimated 200 000 to 300 000 jobs were lost in the formal sector due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. But government disputes these figures.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe president Dr Israel Murefu told ZTN that 20 to 30 percent of the estimated one million formally employed Zimbabweans are now unemployed as a result of the pandemic, with the hospitality sector being the worst affected.
“In Zimbabwe we have experienced job losses across all sectors of the economy. In terms of sectors that have been hard hit, we have the tourism sector including hotels and the travel sector.
Companies in these sectors were not operating but they are beginning to open up. Generally, our estimate is that 20%-30% of employees in the country lost their jobs. There are prospects that some may recover their jobs, when the companies they work for also recover and turnaround.” said Dr Murefu.
Hospitality Association of Zimbabwe president, Clive Chinwada says the impact of covid-19 on the sector will have lingering effects.
“Many players are just starting to open their premises, which had been closed since the end of March. So in the absence of trading, it becomes unsustainable to support any staff payment structures.
So yes indeed we believe the ramifications of Covid-19 to our sector will continue to be witnessed even as we go into the coming year because we are on a long path to recovery. We will not wake up and have full hotels all of a sudden, especially for international travel destinations like Victoria Falls”, added Chinwada.
However, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister, professor Paul Mavima disputes the estimations by Emcoz on job losses.
“What is the basis of that statistic? Because we have what is called the retrenchment board which records all retrenchments. In fact, the number for this year is much lower than for last year as far as retrenchments are concerned.
“It was a pleasant surprise, that there was less retrenchment this year than last year. People may have lost income, but they did not necessarily lose jobs,” said Prof Mavima.