President Lazarus Chakwera Tuesday lashed at critics who are doubting that his administration created 997,423 jobs in the 2021-22 financial year.
Since Chakwera delivered the State of the Nation Address (Sona) some two weeks ago, some Malawians have questioned the figure, pushing government to bring out the list of jobs created and the sectors where people have been employed.
Speaking when he appeared before Parliament Tuesday, Chakwera expressed surprise at demands for an explanation, saying the same Malawians never doubted him when he said 600,000 Malawians had lost jobs in the previous financial year.
Chakwera told the National Assembly that there are people in Malawi who have made a career out of putting Malawians down when they are winning and doing nothing to show concern when Malawians are losing.
“It strikes me as odd that when I stated eight months ago that the economy had lost 600,000 jobs, no one cared to ask what kind of jobs had been lost or to parade the Malawians whose jobs had been lost.
“But the moment I said that over 900,000 jobs had been created, suddenly many people who have good jobs started asking me to parade the Malawians who had received these jobs and questioning whether the income-generating work of those Malawians counts as jobs,” Chakwera said.
Phalombe Central lawmaker George Million then asked Chakwera to give a breakdown of how many of the jobs created were youth-related and how many were permanent.
While indicating that the Ministry of Labour would provide such details, Chakwera said it was not in order for some Malawians to despise the jobs of others.
Chakwera said moving ahead, it would be good for Malawians to have a common definition of jobs so that every Malawian is on the same page when it comes to job creation.
Responding to a question from Nkhata Bay South West lawmaker Noah Chimpeni on adequate funding to the Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB), Chakwera said his administration has always been committed to the fight against corruption.
“For instance, in the 2022- 23 Annual Budget, we not only increased the budget allocation to the ACB to help improve its operations, but also provided extra financial resources to enable the ACB to continue recruiting officers in order to enhance its human capacity.
“We will ensure that the budgeted resources are not only provided to the ACB but, most importantly, disbursed on time,” Chakwera said.
Following up on the question, Machinga East lawmaker Esther Jolobala asked Chakwera as to whether his recent summoning of ACB Director General Martha Chizuma was not tantamount to interfering with the operations of the ACB.
But Chakwera said much as the ACB Director General reports to Parliament, he, as President, has the responsibility to hear from various heads of State institutions on what is happening in their respective areas.
Leader of Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa said he was not impressed with responses given by Chakwera in the House.
Four days after Chakwera’s Sona, Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule attempted to douse the uproar on the jobs’ creation issue.
At a press briefing on February 7, Kamtukule said the jobs which the Chakwera administration had created included permanent and non-permanent jobs.
She further defined a job as any source of livelihood where man-hours are spent to generate income and contribute to economic growth.
But she too could not break down the sectors where these jobs have been created.
Ahead of the fresh presidential election in 2020, the Tonse Alliance promised to create one million jobs within their first year of administration.
In an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation in July 2021, Chakwera struggled to explain the creation of one million jobs in one year.
He claimed that his administration had created 300,000 jobs in the first year but that the impact could not be felt because about 600,000 people lost their jobs due to companies downsizing and foreclosures due to Covid.