The Covid-19 pandemic has put an end to the ‘business-as-usual’ notion hence the increase in the need for innovation. This is according to Utoni Nujoma, Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, when speaking at the launch of Namibia’s Productivity Awareness Campaign week. Nujoma noted that Namibia needs to move away from the traditional thought of innovation as just being about new products and services and should strive towards the adaption of innovation as a new way of working – working smartly yet productively.
“The pandemic does not only bring new challenges but also avails opportunities for a new approach for us to ensure our survival; it is either we adapt differently now or never. This, of course, requires adequate resources to lift the economy out of the decline. Hence, instead of supporting old methods and habits, the resources should be invested into future strategies and focused innovation,” Nujoma noted. He added that areas that are most fruitful in this respect are economic sustainability, digitalisation of activities and investment in innovation, emphasising that any support for the digital economy is the key to boost technological innovation and services that are essential to driving productivity growth.
The employment creation minister further stated that improved productivity has direct impacts on the overall national economy hence an aggressive drive in achieving the expected impacts, particularly in the face of globalisation and economic evolution of the fourth industrial revolution anchored on the “Future of Work” is central.
Nujoma also said all sectors in the Namibian economy have no alternative but to transform themselves to become more productive, resilient and sustainable if they are to remain relevant in the labour market, which he stated requires appropriate innovation and fair competition that respects labour standards including workers’ rights.
He noted that the success of Namibia relies heavily on collective and continuous involvement in improving productivity simply because, as it is known by now, productivity is “a marathon without a finishing line”.
“Through the collective involvement, the nation can reduce poverty as the economy will prosper, resulting in more employment opportunities – and consequently, more citizens become self-reliant in the mainstream economy,” Nujoma noted.
The labour and employment creation ministry dedicated last week to celebrate productivity and, at the same time, encourage all Namibians to be productive amidst the challenge of Covid-19. This is the second time Namibia is celebrating Productivity Week since its inception in 2018. Nujoma said Namibia has to continuously strive to be productive regardless of the current circumstances as the country’s future relies heavily on the level of its productivity. Namibia has gone through several restrictions, including lockdown stages during the State of Emergency as the country is trying to curb and control the spread of the deadly pandemic. “Restrictions have negatively affected the country’s productivity as well as its economic performance. The pandemic has led to many businesses laying off workers while some even closed down,” Nujoma confirmed. - firstname.lastname@example.org