ActionAid country director Nalucha Ziba has challenged the Patriotic Front to publish a breakdown, sector by sector, of all the jobs it claims to have created since 2011.

In a statement, Wednesday, Ziba observed that the cost of living had worsened under the PF government which was attributed to high taxes.

“Prior to 2011 elections PF basis of coming into power was lower taxes, more money in the pockets and more jobs. When they took over government the highest tax band under PAYE was 30 percent and currently the PAYE is 37.5 percent highest tax band. In as much as the tax threshold has significantly increased to K3,300, however, the cost of living under the PF government has significantly increased tremendously standing over K5,500 per month as observed by the JCTR through the Basic Needs Basket. Therefore, even if PF government claims that they have increased the tax threshold, this amount is too minimal to sustain and average family of five. The increase in the cost of living has been necessitated by increases in fuel prices and electricity which has triggered the high cost of production among other things. AAZ understands that tax is any compulsory contribution to state revenue, levied by the government on workers’ income. Therefore argument that the National Health Act is not a tax is not valid because citizens will be compelled to make a compulsory contribution towards the scheme,” Ziba stated.

“It is interesting to note the formal employment figures of 1,026,746 being quoted by the PF deputy media director Antonio Mwanza as having being created by PF since 2011. To this effect, the PF argue that when they formed government formal sector employment was below 600 000 and as of 2018 they claim they have created additional 1,026,746 formal sector jobs. However, we question the validity of these statistics. Recently, CSO released the 2017 Labour Force Survey, which shows that formal sector employment stands at 761,669. Additionally, we would be happy if the PF could publish a detailed breakdown per sector and per province on the jobs created. One would wonder were the over 500,000 jobs created by the PF have gone to. Does it mean people have been retrenched or have died? This is shocking as most youths are still waiting for the promised jobs.”

She noted that most jobs the PF was boasting about were seasonal.

“Furthermore, our concern is what type of employment are they talking about? We note that most jobs created by the government are seasonal like in road, school and hospital construction. The quality of these jobs is questionable looking at the poor working conditions such as low wages. For example according to the Zambia Reports online publication in 2017 it was established that hundreds of workers engaged by flourishing construction of South Africa in Chiengi did go for two years without receiving their salaries and we wonder if this is the type of job creation the PF is talking about,” stated Ziba.