Job cuts fears loom as Govt revives PVO Bill revival

By Own Correspondent

JOB cuts fears have gripped the Civil Society sector following the recent revival of work around the finalisation of the PVO Bill.

 On 1 March, Zimbabwe’s government gazetted the Private Voluntary Organisation (PVO) Amendment Bill 2024 to allegedly ‘curb money-laundering and financing of terrorism and to ensure that Non-Governmental Organizations’ do not undertake political lobbying.

Following the President’s refusal to sign the PVO Amendment Bill 2021 and the subsequent lapse of the original Bill in August 2023, there was hope that the President had considered the submissions made by Civil Society Organisations in 2023.

However, the new bill reflects that most of the issues raised were not addressed and it still contains provisions which will negatively impact civic space and threaten the continued existence and operations of Civil Society Organisations.

The developments come in the wake of predictions by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum that about 18 000 jobs risk going on the wire if the instrument sails through.

“This is quite significant considering the huge employment related challenges the country has been facing for a long time. NGOs have also played an important role in developing the country’s human resource base through carrying out a number of capacity-building activities and programmes,” the NGO Forum added.

The human rights activists said the country was also heavily reliant on the NGO sector for financial support to the health, education, social protection, water and sanitation sectors, as well as food aid.

NGOs also contribute significantly towards foreign currency receipts in the country. According to the 2022 Monetary Policy Statement, NGOs are the third biggest earners of foreign currency after export proceeds and diaspora remittances.

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