HomeEditorial CommentTNF: Time to walk the talk

TNF: Time to walk the talk

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REVELATIONS that members of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum last week met in the resort town of Victoria Falls to cobble together a social contract that has proved to be elusive thus far, is a development we welcome with caution.

TNF is a body under which government, business and labour meet to discuss issues of national interest.

Despite the legislation of the TNF amid pomp and fanfare in 2019, there is little progress on the part of the forum to address major challenges the country is facing which includes currency volatility, which has led to the erosion of incomes, and high levels of unemployment.

The TNF has been bogged down by mistrust, boycotts and  accusations against government over its “big brother” mentality.

Labour minister Paul Mavima made the right noises in his speech at the forum last week of an urgent need to come up with a social contract and to avoid divisions. However, such a call by the minister is nothing new as he has made such utterances in the past with nothing to show for it at the end.

It is damning that more than two years since the TNF was legislated, there is still no progress on a social contract that is crucial in addressing the myriad of challenges bedevilling the country. It is an embarrassment that there still is no TNF secretariat in place more than two years after President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed to legislate the forum. All this points to a lack of seriousness and brings up the question of whether there is any commitment  to ensure progress for the national good.

It is our hope that the discussions in Victoria Falls will set the platform for inclusive dialogue that will bring about policies that will ameliorate the suffering of the majority of the country’s citizens.

Government has shown that, while it advocates for dialogue, it fails dismally when it comes to consultation with its tripartite partners. In a survey, which was launched last week, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce said the promulgation of numerous statutory instruments without consultation whatsoever, had been detrimental to business.

The decision by government to impose a minimum wage in 2019  after having reached a deadlock with its tripartite partners has done little to engender the trust needed for the TNF to achieve its set objectives.

We can only hope that there will be real progress with egos set aside.

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