• July 7th, 2020

Prolonged recession continues to take toll on private sector recruitment

WINDHOEK – Three straight years of negative growth of the Namibian economy is not making any positive contributions to the unemployment rate as businesses are more likely to retrench staff in the current economic climate than actually recruit new employees. 

This is because the domestic economy is only projected to gradually emerge from the prolonged recession in 2020 with a moderate growth rate of about 0.8 percent and about 1.3 percent by 2021, averaging a mere two percent over the next three years. Namibia’s official unemployment rate is just over 33 percent while youth unemployment is estimated at closer to 50 percent. 

The dire situation was reiterated by the secretary general of the Namibia Employers Federation (NEF), Tim Parkhouse, who said: “The recession has hit almost all sectors of the economy and we hear almost daily about companies struggling to survive. We have seen this in the number of companies that have not renewed their (NEF) membership this year, due to either closing or having to drastically reduce costs. The formal apprenticeship programme has progressed, and last year just under 300 were recruited and this year I believe that the figure is around 500. Apart from this, not many companies are actually recruiting new staff.”

Responding to questions from New Era, Parkhouse said he was pleased to see that some recommendations from the NEF’s Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises (EESE) report were filtering through to be included in policy decisions. Some of the recommendations include the easing of visa requirements for visiting business people and  visas on arrival for tourists.

He however added that more could be done such as diverting resources from struggling state-owned enterprises to more productive areas of the economy. 

“The government needs to streamline all the requirements to establish business, especially to encourage the Informal sector to become formal,” Parkhouse added, noting that the question of skills mismatch is being attended to. 

“However changing curriculum and getting young people through a course takes time, but the changes are in process,” Parkhouse added. 

He continued: “If you have a job be grateful, even if it is not perhaps what you really want. Be grateful that you have some income. Be loyal to your employer. Be punctual. Be prepared to do just a little bit more than your job, without always expecting overtime. Work and be productive!! Not just ‘be at work’.” 

Parkhouse’s comments come as the gloomy unemployment situation was brought to the fore when thousands of unemployed people showed up for a handful of menial jobs available at some institutions. 
The most recent figures from the Namibia Statistics Agency indicate that the country’s overall unemployment rate dropped slightly from 34 percent in 2016 to 33.4 percent in 2018. However, the statistics show that the youth are still the most unemployed group in the country with a staggering 46 percent of young people without jobs. 

Edgar Brandt
2019-11-04 07:51:57 | 8 months ago

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