Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
President Mnangagwa is today expected to launch the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Act to pave way for the establishment of a platform of social partners — the Government, labour and business — to discuss pertinent issues affecting the economy.
The TNF Act will result in the establishment of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) where Government will engage the social partners to discuss issues bedevilling the economy such as price increases and labour remuneration.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday told the 19th Cabinet Decision Matrix briefing that the establishment of the TNF was instrumental in resolving the continued escalation in prices of basic commodities in the market.
“Cabinet notes with concern the continuing price increases which are eroding the values of incomes for the workers and inflicting a lot of suffering among all our consumers,” she said.
“It is in this regard that Cabinet welcomes the passing of the TNF (Bill) by Parliament on the 23rd May, 2019. This vital piece of legislation is now set to be launched tomorrow by His Excellency President Mnangagwa. This, together with other measures already being pursued by Government, will go a long way in bringing stability to the issues of prices through broad stakeholders’ collaboration in turning around the economy.
“Furthermore, Government will continue to strengthen and deepen social safety nets so as to cushion consumers from the adverse effects of the ongoing austerity measures that are meant to reposition the economy on a sustainable path.”
The functions of the TNF include consulting and negotiating over social and economic issues and submitting recommendations to Cabinet.
The TNF has been in existence as a voluntary platform since 1998.
Observers have been calling for the platform to be a formal statutory body to improve its effectiveness.
Yesterday labour centres hailed the development with the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Harare office also tweeting that the TNF Bill will be “historic”
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the TNF would address of the challenges besetting the country.
“It will be an important development which we have been pursuing for over two decades if all social partners engage in good faith, this can address some of the challenges the nation is facing,” ZCTU tweeted.
“Our labour market is turbulent and requires urgent social dialogues,” it added.
It will also negotiate a social contract as and when necessary and foster cooperation of the tripartite constituents and consult other key stakeholders and contribute to the formulation and implementation of social and economic policies.
The TNF will also follow up and monitor implementation of agreements.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said Cabinet had approved principles of the amendments to the Competition Act to align the law with the Constitution and strengthen the fight against cartels and monopolies that have been accused of triggering the wave of unjustified price increases being experienced in the economy.
“The principles seek to align the Act with the Zimbabwe Constitution. Key provisions of the principles include the following; empowering the Commission to levy administrative penalties for companies that violate the competition laws; introduction of a corporate leniency programme so as to facilitate the successful investigation of cartels; strengthening the powers of the Commission in obtaining evidence during investigations through providing for the procedure to be followed as well as the obligations to be imposed on its investigating officers; empowering the Commission to employ certain persons to assist with the entry and search where such services are required; providing for co-operation and co-existence of the Commission with sector regulators and other competition authorities; and empowering the Commission to undertake review of activities and legal frameworks of trade and professional associations to ensure that they are consistent with competition legal framework,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.