Malawi stuck with 2013 labour data


By Deogratias Mmana

Malawi is using labour statistics of 2013 because the National Statistical Office (NSO) is yet to get K1.3 billion for conducting a full labour force survey, The Daily Times understands.

In the absence of the latest statistics, government and other stakeholders may not make well informed policies and decisions on labour issues.


The figures that are currently being used based on the 2013 labour survey show that seven million Malawians are in employment.

Principal statistician at NSO Richard Phiri admitted that the indicators are old and may have been overtaken by various developments.

Phiri said NSO was supposed to conduct a follow-up survey in 2018 but failed due to lack of resources and the coming of the Covid pandemic.


He said NSO needs K1.3 billion to conduct another survey which he said will be done next year.

“Government has already provided K550 million for the survey. This time, the labour estimates will touch on the districts. This time, there will be more interventions,” Phiri said on the sidelines of a training workshop on statistics use and Malawi Data Dissemination Platform held in Lilongwe on Friday.

He said the 2013 survey showed that 37 percent of children between five and 17 years of age were working when they were not supposed to do so.

According to the 2013 data, seven million people, 3.3 million males and 3.7 million females, within the age group of 15-64 were in the labour force.

Phiri said data produced by NSO helps the government and other stakeholders to come up with evidence-based policies, decision making and monitoring and evaluation of development programmes.

Executive Director of the Church and Society of Blantyre Synod, Reverend Master Jumbe, said it is sad that the country relies on old data on labour issues.

“The country needs latest labour data so that the government and stakeholders including the donor community are well guided when formulating policies or decisions on labour issues.

“We have seen or heard other quarters claiming to have created jobs. It could be true or not. So, the official latest statistics coming from NSO will help us see the truth,” Jumbe said.

NSO is a government agency mandated to collect, analyse, publicise and disseminate official statistics for evidence-based policy formulation.

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