PARTIES to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) — Government, business and labour — will convene on 8 November to discuss “critical issues facing the economy”.
It will be the second meeting under the body, which was officially launched on 5 June when President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the TNF Bill into an Act.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza told our Harare Bureau there have been inordinate delays in convening the second meeting because there was a need to properly constitute TNF structures in compliance with the Act.
While the management committee, whose mandate is to set the agenda, had not been fully constituted, the technical committee — charged with preparing documents for the main TNF — was also still discussing, she said.
“The TNF technical committee is expected to formally assign clusters work to be executed leading into the main TNF meeting scheduled for November 8, 2019,” said Minister Nzenza.
“It is hoped the main TNF will consider recommendations of the TNF technical committee on critical issues facing the economy.
“It is also hoped that the main TNF outcomes will inform ongoing budget consultations, with a view of ensuring that the views of business and labour are taken on board,” she said.
The process of constituting TNF structures involved processing invitations to social partners and respective Government ministries for nominations into the various bodies of the TNF, including the appointment of the chairperson.
Minister Nzenza said: “This process took some time given the fact that organisations of social partners are constituency-based, hence there are various consultative and approval processes involved.
“The appointment process has, however, been finalised, with the exception of technical committee cluster nominations from labour, which have not been submitted.”
The three technical clusters are economic, social and labour.
The economic cluster has been tasked with preparing proposals on how the twin challenges of foreign currency shortages and soaring inflation can be solved.
It has also been charged with coming up with proposals on how to promote economic development.
On the other hand, the social cluster has been tasked with looking into allegations of both perceived persecution of trade union representatives and rent-seeking behaviour by businesses.
The labour cluster has been specifically mandated with unpacking the TNF Act and proposals for operationalising the TNF and making it efficient.
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Israel Murefu said there was a need for Government to consult extensively before crafting statutory instruments to avoid blindsiding stakeholders.
“So many statutory instruments are being crafted by the authorities without the input of the other parties; that is, business and labour.
“Government needs to consult before all these instruments are put into place,” said Mr Murefu.
Apex Council president Cecilia Alexander said labour was ready for negotiations.
“The establishment of TNF is a very positive development, but, yes, since we met in June, we have not yet had another meeting.
“It would have been good for us as a country to utilise such a forum to discuss the challenges that we are facing.”