Zimbabwe MP says you cannot compete when you pay an employee $250 a month and China pays $36


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Bulawayo South Member of Parliament Eddie Cross has blasted the proposed National Competitiveness Commission Bill saying Parliament should not approve it as it is a waste of money because its job is already being done by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

Cross, who went outline the problem of price controls and that they did not work, said: “Quite frankly, I do not believe that this board (commission) will make an iota of difference to our competitiveness as a nation because competitiveness is created nationally. 

“It is not a function of a single entity, it is a function of national effort.  I, personally do not support the creation of this board.  I think we should wind it up and stop spending money on a board that does not carry any real responsibilities.”

Cross said taxes and the cost of energy, transport and labour were too high and gave a detailed account  of each item.

“I was in the shoe business in Bulawayo and I was a director of a major shoe company.  We employed three thousand people and we were producing two pairs of shoes per day per employee,” he said. 

“In China it is 12, why and what is the difference?  In China the minimum wage is $36 and in Zimbabwe it is $250.  You cannot compete if those are the realities of your business……… 

“We are struggling with the Harare City Council where the Chief Executive, the Town Clerk was getting $30 thousand per month, a sweeper getting $420 and municipal policemen getting $1 100 and constable on the ZRP gets $350, what kind of crazy salaries are they?”

Cross lambasted the National Social Security Authority for making poor investments.

“We pay 8 percent to NSSA and it has accumulated $5 billion of income over the last 24 years and their total assets at the moment are $1.2 billion. Where is the other $4 billion?” he asked. 

“NSSA is the most inefficient investor in Zimbabwe today.  Look at the Beitbridge Hotel, $53 million and it is closed.  Look at the hospital in Bulawayo, $250 million and it is closed.”

He had no kind words for the Environmental Management Agency either.

“Do you know what a nightmare EMA is?  If you speak to any businessman who is involved in mining industry, I have a small scale miner who is a friend of mine, the EMA closed him down because of some of the problems of pollution on is site.  They are charging him $5 000 per day until he fixes the problem.  He just closed the mine, he could not afford the $5 000 a day.”

Below is his full contribution:

Continued next page

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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