Analysis: INUTU MUSHAMBATWA
THE Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) launched the National Integrated Management Information System (IMIS) project as the basis for undertaking monitoring and evaluation of public policies and programmes, and address the challenge of the need for a strong and comprehensive national labour market information system.
The project specifically aims at strengthening monitoring and evaluation in the sectors so as to improve both development outcomes and financial accountability in national development planning. One of the target sectors under the project is employment and labour coordinated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS).
Under this initiative, the capacity of MLSS to operate a Labour Market Management Information System is being strengthened in line with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and the Vision 2030 with the support of the European Union (EU), the German Technical Cooperation (GIZ) and the Department of International Development (DFID).
The 7NDP and the Vision 2030 explicitly recognise the crucial role of an efficient and well-functioning labour market information system in facilitating the formulation, implementation and monitoring of labour market and employment policies and programmes. This system is key in addressing unemployment and poverty as well as promoting decent work.
It can be observed that for proper decisions to be made on labour-related matters, sufficient and accurate information is key. Various accounts indicate that some of the key information on labour market developments in Zambia is either unavailable or, if available, is often disseminated across different institutions, and it is usually limited in scope and not up to date.
It is because of this challenge that Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, is developing the Labour Market Information System that will provide accurate data on a regular basis for evidence-based decision-making at various levels. Currently what is obtaining in the labour and employment sector is not encouraging as information is generally only available for formal sector labour and employment activities, which is not methodologically organised, and has deficiencies in collection methodology and inconsistency in the use of concepts and definitions of indicators by different sources.
The development of a comprehensive labour market information system has been undertaken in the following stages:
Formulation and development of a labour sector performance framework (SPF) fully aligned with national performance framework (NPF);
Development of a five-year strategic plan for labour market information and statistics (2018 – 2022);
Development of labour sector integrated data catalogue;
The Labour Sector Data Catalogue is a dictionary of data operations of various departments of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. This is what has been used to develop the software or system.
The ministry envisions having a labour market information system that will depict labour and employment trends in Zambia, monitor companies that are compliant with labour laws, and the facilitation of the public employment services.
There will be a database created which will include all jobs on the labour market.
This will also include the analyses of what will be lacking on the labour market, in terms of skills and professions, and the trends in the various sectors with regard to employment and labour.
Thus the ministry will be able to track the changes in the labour market and this will be informed by the Quarterly Labour Force Survey that the ministry conducts in collaboration with the Central Statistical Office.
However, due to limited funds and the project time frame, what the current project has focused on is the development of the system to monitor labour inspections, occupational safety and health inspections and labour complaints.
This will be an online system that will be accessible to labour officers who will update labour complaints and inspections in real time.
About 115 computers and 100 tablets have been bought to distribute to all labour officers.
The benefits of monitoring companies to ensure that they are labour-complaint is that decent work will be promoted in the country.
The labour market information system is expected to be rolled out at the end of December, 2018.
The author is public relations officer at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Analysis: INUTU MUSHAMBATWA