Zambia Green Jobs Programme baseline launched
Almost 400 Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, from contractors to saw millers, architects and building material suppliers and processors, along the value chain in building and construction were surveyed in terms of working conditions, green business practices, ease of doing business and green construction and building practices.
This baseline serves as a tool and benchmark to measure and report progress throughout the programme's duration and to guide and to inform future interventions for job creation, and increased productivity through improved working conditions. In addition, the baseline provides a detailed snapshot of the reality of MSME's in the building construction sector in Zambia and the challenges employers and workers face on a daily basis.
The baseline confirmed that although the majority of MSME's (over 95 percent) were registered with the Zambian Revenue Authority (ZRA) and Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA), this did not necessary reflect in high levels of formalization of the workforce. The baseline findings revealed that majority of workers were working on a casual basis, many times without written formal contracts or social protection provided. Reasons that could be behind this were the short term nature of construction projects, or lack of knowledge on both sides i.e. workers and employers. However, as some of the construction business representatives noted that this practice is slowly but surely changing through ILO interventions aimed at strengthening capacity of MSMSE's to apply the Zambian Labour laws.
Other findings of the baseline
49% of MSME’s source materials locally
52.5% of MSME’s used recycled materials
Large disparities in profit margins for MSME’s – 258.00 compared to 7,950,000.00
Construction building sectors is male dominated (81%) with only 19% females
63.4 % constructed structures with rainwater harvesting
Furthermore, Occupational Safety and Health has been identified as a serious challenge for the sector, threatening most of the workers, and hence also having serious implications in terms of productivity of the MSME's concerned. Official national statistics show that the building constructions sector ranks third in terms of occupational accidents and fatalities behind the mining and quarrying sector and chemical industry, which is attributed to, among other things, the structure of the industry and poor working conditions.
The baseline study also revealed some degree of awareness and knowledge regarding green building practices, and openness from the sector to adapt and respond to these new emerging trends. However, this is being compromised by the absence of an enabling policy framework, inadequate promotion of green building construction amongst the general public and policy makers, lack of sector specific business development services supporting small MSMSEs' towards green building practices as well as the issue of access to finance and technical skills.
All stakeholders from government, business, trade unions and workers confirmed the data presented to them, and at the same time confirmed their commitment towards actively supporting the programme in achieving its outcome.