Deputy minister of information Emma Theophelus has proposed the implementation of a parliamentary unemployment ad hoc committee to tackle youth unemployment challenges in the country.
Theophelus said this in the National Assembly while contributing to the unemployed youth motion recently tabled by Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) parliamentarian Inna Hengari.
“Identify the gaps in the legal frameworks. We do not need to outsource this task to government alone as if parliament has no agency’; let’s convene the ad hoc committee and get to work as opposed to constantly pointing fingers,” she stated.
Youth unemployment in Namibia has reached a point of great concern, with many supporting a call for President Hage Geingob to declare it a state of emergency.
Contrary to popular opinion, the deputy minister suggested for the people’s house to rather create a cabinet committee on youth unemployment. “Much like the recommendations in the APRM report, the establishment of a unit that coordinates at the highest level of government; the finances, monitoring and evaluation, and programmes will be more effective rather than a state of emergency.”
According to the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) Targeted Review Report on youth and unemployment launched last week, the government should establish a youth programmes coordination and implementation unit to communicate information on youth initiatives that currently exist across all platforms around the country
Youth unemployment, which currently stands at 46.1%, is expected to reach a staggering 50.3% by the end of this year.
During her contribution, Theophelus further requested the ministry of labour to improve job placements to mitigate the crisis.
“Properly begin to mix and match demand vs supply with the assistance of the Namibia Planning Commission,” she suggested, adding that partnering with the private sector at the local level is essential to identify the labour market demand, and avoid an over-skilling and under-skilling problem.
Among her other contributions, the 24-year-old deputy minister also proposed a need to legislate that private companies emulate the internship programme of MTC, raise productivity in the informal sector – both on the farm and off the farm – and reform the education system by establishing specialised schools.
“Young people in this country are optimistic about their future, despite the struggles they face today in entering the labour force, which, for youth entering in 2020-2022, will be compounded by the Covid-19-induced recession. It is a challenge, and it might be a challenge in the next few years as the whole country recovers, but let us not create a ‘we vs them’ scenario. Let us put our abilities together to address the challenge,” she stated.