WINDHOEK - Higher education minister Dr Itah Kandjii-Murangi has ordered the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) to reinstate, with immediate effect, over 40 employees that it recently retrenched.
The minister’s intervention comes a week after more than 40 of NIMT’s 275 employees were retrenched, allegedly due to financial difficulties the revered technical institution is enduring.
When the minister learned of the retrenchments last week, she went to address the NIMT management at Arandis campus as well as the northern campus to sort out the issue which was widely reported on in the media.
The ministry’s spokesperson Laimi Mbango said Kandjii-Murangi, after reading about the retrenchments, asked to be appraised on the situation.
Mbango noted that the trustees whom she met confirmed to the minister that there was no board resolution for employees to be retrenched, although NIMT management presented to the board of trustees the financial challenges the institution was facing, as well as a proposal on cost-cutting measures.
In principle, she explained, the trustees accepted that given the current financial challenges the institution was facing, it was prudent for management to implement cost-cutting measures and revert to the trustees with more detailed cost-cutting proposals.
“The minister informed both management and staff of the unfortunate situation, which resulted in some NIMT staff to be served with retrenchment letters while there was no such a resolution from the board of trustees. She directed management to reinstate the retrenched employees and to request them to report back for duty immediately,” Mbango said.
She also reminded management that retrenchment should be the last resort and ordered all retrenched employees back at work.
The minister stressed the important role institutions such as NIMT are playing in developing the needed vocational and technical skills in the youth, which are critical ingredients for Namibia to attain its Vision 2030, as well as to address unemployment and the scourge of poverty in the country.
Kandjii-Murangi stated that government will not allow institutions such a NIMT to sink given the financial challenges the centre is faced with.
She assured members of management and staff that the ministry is aware of the financial challenges that some of the agencies under the ministry were facing, and that they were consulting with the Ministry of Finance to see how the financial situation could be remedied.
She appealed to both management and staff to become more innovative and to implement cost-cutting measures at the various NIMT campuses.
She further encouraged staff members, stating that these were difficult times and noted that transformation at NIMT was inevitable to ensure that the institution is managed more sustainably.
During her engagement with management and staff, she further stated that the government values the contributions NIMT is making to ensure that high levels of technical and vocational skills are provided, and that the current financial challenges were not peculiar to NIMT alone, because other institutions of higher learning were also facing similar challenges.
She indicated that the ministry is constantly in contact with all its institutions pertaining to funding to find an amicable solution.
The minister will be visiting the NIMT southern campus today to meet management and staff on the same issue of retrenchment.