GRZ recently announced plans to employ more than 4,000 people to work as conservation officers under the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) in all the 10 provinces. Tourism PS George Zulu says the new employees "would be employed to improve capacity of the wildlife conservation programmes after a recruitment freeze that has been in force for the past three years".
The officers to be recruited would include village and national scouts. The village scouts will consist of the local people who are literate and have knowledge on wildlife, while the national scouts would need to have academic qualifications. The vacancies will soon be advertised in the media with recruitment starting as "soon as the discussions with the stakeholders are concluded".
The interesting question is how ZAWA will fund this large workforce. According Ms Masebo ZAWA has a debt of over KR2 billion. We were also told that the reason for the ‘black hole’ is that ZAWA only receives about K4 billion (old Kwacha) annually when it requires more than K10 billion. In short, ZAWA's business model is not sustainable.
Until that problem is resolved hiring more workers will just be another drain on tax payers. It is robbing Peter to pay Paul. Zambians need to start looking very carefully at the sustainability of jobs being created. There's no free lunch or supper for that matter.
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Chola Mukanga | Economist | Writer
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