In yesterday’s issue we carried a story titled English, Science teachers set for South Sudan in a deal brokered by Primary and Secondary education minister Lazarus Dokora.
While this is laudable in the context of the high unemployment rate in the country, we are of the view that the government should come up with a labour export policy for the benefit of the nation.
Labour exports should not be isolated incidents, but should be guided by policy. Zimbabwe would not be the first country to export labour as countries such as the Phillipines, Cuba and Mauritius among others have been exporting labour and reaping the benefits. We can study their models and come up with one that suits our context.
Zimbabwe has a lot of unemployed graduates and labour exports would help most of these to find alternative job markets for the benefit of both the unemployed graduates as individuals in terms of personal income and the government in terms of remittances.
Countries that export labour understand that labour exports are similar to exported goods as both are targeted at foreign earnings.
Although critics may argue that labour exports contribute to brain drain, this can be controlled more if they are government-driven unlike the current scenario where we are losing skilled labour to foreign markets with government and the nation gaining little or nothing.
Our graduates are everywhere in the world and they have proved their worth.
We have lost millions of skilled young men and women in return for nothing. In the Phillipines, research has shown that remittances from labour exports make up the second largest source of foreign funds after foreign direct investment.
By its own admission, the Zanu PF government has failed to create the 2,2 million jobs it promised during the election campaign period and one sure way of creating an alternative job market is to export labour.
At present, our underutilised labour is one giant resource the government is letting lie idle yet it has the potential to contribute to national coffers. It is no longer a secret that our comatose economy cannot provide the desired job market.
Why not export the “excess” labour that our sick economy cannot absorb? We should not pretend that our shrinking domestic market will be able to absorb the hordes of unemployed youths in the near future.
Things are getting worse and rather than let the large human resource base go to waste, it is prudent that we make use of it to earn money from those who need its services. After all Zimbabwe is known for its quality education and skills training that is why our young men and women are in demand in the four corners of the world. Why waste them?