• July 12th, 2020

Covid-19 intensified challenges for Namibia’s labour force - Nujoma



The prevalence of Covid-19 has intensified numerous challenges for Namibians trying to earn a decent living and has exacerbated the vulnerability of key economic sectors, small and medium enterprises, as well as the informal economy. 
This is according to the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma, who, in the budget motivation for his ministry, submitted a budget of just shy of N$188 million consideration and approval.

“The Covid-19 era has also introduced great opportunities. The alarmingly high structural unemployment in Namibia, especially among our youth, demands bold and targeted solutions. A new approach to employment creation is required, starting with both employment-centred planning, investment and budgeting, coupled with a dedicated structure to coordinate employment creation across ministries, the private sector and public enterprises and support for sustainable enterprises,” said Nujoma during his budget motivation. 
Nujoma, therefore, called on the methodology of employment impact assessment to be introduced and for an employment creation coordination structure to be established as a matter of top priority.  

Said Nujoma: “An integral part of the coordination process is to ensure that every Namibian youth is guaranteed education, training and/or apprenticeships that will lead to employment in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. My ministry is committed to achieving these goals as part of a coordinated national strategy”. 

The labour minister added that the state of emergency, necessitated by the pandemic, highlighted the importance of social dialogue and collective bargaining as a means to mitigate economic shocks affecting workers and employers and to prevent, manage and resolve labour disputes. “If we want to achieve our national vision of a peaceful and prosperous nation, we cannot afford industrial conflict and we must address the plight of the workers and employers affected by the lockdown and the pre-existing economic situation, and look forward as to how to address the employment impact of future health crises and natural disasters, including the consideration of introducing unemployment insurance. The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation is committed to strengthening tri-partite dialogue with government’s social partners, the trade unions and the employers’ organisations – and where appropriate, other stakeholders, in order to manage conflict and to find solutions to our daunting challenges, based on national and mutual interest,” said Nujoma.

From the total allocation of N$187.9 million, Nujoma said N$179.9 million is for the labour ministry’s operational budget, while N$8 million is for the development budget that mainly entails renovation and maintenance of buildings. 
“I also bring to the attention of this August House that our ministry has mobilised its key directorates to give special priority to the health and safety of workers in relation to the threat of Covid-19 and to process speedily all complaints lodged by workers alleging violation of their rights in relation to the impact of Covid-19,” said Nujoma. 
– ebrandt@nepc.com.na


Edgar Brandt
2020-06-16 09:36:03 | 26 days ago

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