ZGJP Policy Dialogue Workshop: Government Confirms Commitment to Extension of Social Protection
The building construction sector in Zambia has been identified as a potential driver for economic growth and Green Job creation.
The building construction sector in Zambia has been identified as a potential driver for economic growth and Green Job creation. However, the UN has also identified significant challenges when it comes to decent work, particularly related to poor working conditions, both in terms of occupational safety and health (OSH) and social protection coverage.
It is against this background that the Zambia Green Jobs Programme (ZGJP) held a policy dialogue workshop on social protection in the building construction value chain from 27th to 28th November 2014 in Lusaka.
The workshop provided a forum for the participants representing government, social security institutions, saw millers and contractors associations, employers, workers and civil society organisations, to discuss policy options for the extension of social protection in the construction sector. The overall objective of the workshop was to identify concrete follow-up actions to develop joint solutions to extend the coverage of social protection to workers and enterprises in the building construction sector and to discuss the positive co-relation between working conditions and productivity.
During the workshop an assessment mapping social protection risks and needs of the sector and at the same time emphasising the sector specificities and the challenges faced by its MSMEs to provide protection to its workers under the current social protection framework was presented. This assessment was reinforced by the presentation of a value-chain analysis that brought to the table a better understanding of the different actors in the sector and their respective roles. It complemented the first analysis by underlining the relation between productivity and working conditions . In conclusion a study on International Best Practices in the extension of Social Protection in the construction sector was presented with the objective to fuel discussion between national stakeholders about potential innovations to bring more coverage to the sector.
Owing to the workshop dialogue several means of immediate and medium-terms solutions for the extension of social protection to the construction sector were discussed. The main focus being the need to adapt the services currently provided to the specificities of the sector. Amongst others it was agreed that increased sensitisation on the importance of social security, enhancing linkages among key stakeholders, improvement of processing claims, development of more flexible contribution mechanisms, and issuance of compliance certificates should be implemented in collaboration with respective institutions in the social security sector.
It was further agreed that the possibility of launching joint special campaigns for the enrolment of companies and workers in the sector in 2015 will be explored.
The long-term strategies will include designing of a scheme to address specific needs of the sector, development of regulations and guidelines, review of penalties regulations, development of enterprise size based assessment rates, harmonisation of benefits among social security institutions and continued dialogue among stakeholders in the construction sector. In addition, part of the workshop discussions was centred on how to create incentives for the MSMEs to adhere to the schemes.
The government confirmed its commitment to extension of social protection through supporting the development of policy options appropriate for this sector. The Technical Working Group formed to spearhead this process will be monitoring and supervising the implementation of the follow-up activities in 2015.