HARARE, Zimbabwe (PANA) - Over 1.5 million of Zimbabwe's 10.5 million people are jobless, according to a consultant economist in Harare.
In an interview, the consultant, John Robertson, said Thursday that the greatest political challenge facing the government is dealing with the chronic unemployment crisis.
Robertson said Zimbabwe's unemployment figure was "too high" for a country with a population of only 10.5 million people.
"Total unemployment, excluding peasant farmers and their families, now exceeds 1.5 million people. In addition, we have about 300,000 young men and women reaching the legal age of majority entering the job market every year.
"Out of that, only about 15,000 might find work while the rest either proceed to university or resign themselves to looking for non-existent jobs," Robertson said.
According to statistics, since 1980, more than 820,000 young Zimbabweans have completed four or more years of secondary education.
Robertson said government could play a part in solving the problem by overhauling labour laws.
He said although labour regulations had been partially liberalised in line with market reforms launched in 1990, many companies were hamstrung by clauses which prescribed minimum wages.
In addition, he said, cumbersome retrenchment procedures made employers nervous about engaging additional staff whom they might not need when business declines.
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