Experts dispute Malawi’s 3 per cent unemployment rate-report

Experts have disagreed with Malawi government figures that put the country’s unemployment rate at 3 percent margin.

In a published report in Business Times midweek publication, the country’s medium term development strategy, the Malawi Growth Development Strategy (MDGS II) put Malawi among the fastest developing countries in the world with low unemployment levels like Singapore, Austria, Switzerland, British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, Cuba, Vietnam, Andora and Tonga.

According to the paper, the MDGS II would help the Malawi government lower unemployment by 1 percent come 2016; meaning by then unemployment would be pegged at 2 percent.

Mathematically speaking, the MDGS figures, if they are anything to go by, then it means out of every 100 Malawians, 97 have jobs while only 3 are not working.

But a Zomba based economist has disputed the figures saying they do not represent true situation on the ground.

The analyst who the paper say did not want to be named, has argued that formula used to compute the figures is way out of this world as it looks at every Malawian who has a garden where s/he goes uses to produce maize as employed person.

He therefore called for revisiting of the whole process used to accumulate data saying the country has one of the world’s horrible unemployment figures.

Commenting on the issue, education rights activist Limbani Nsapato told the paper that three percent is way on the lower side comparing to number of school leavers that are jobless at the moment.

“It is possible that the unemployment rate is only looking at those people who have gone through recognized formal training institutions and given that access to those institutions is very low, the demand for highly skilled jobs is also very low.

“So there is need for more investment in the training programmes, especially Tevet to build the required human resources that will be needed to implement adequately the MDGS II (2011-2016),” observed Nsapato.

National Statistics Office Commissioner Charles Machinjili is on record as saying the way the population of Malawi is structured has bearing on unemployment figures as those that are involved in gainful tasks like farming are also considered employed.

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