7 December 2012

Namibia: 'Rethink Labour Laws'

“OBSOLETE doctrines that clutter the minds of man and a lack of execution of policy interventions” are the two key structural obstacles to Namibian prosperity, Johannes !Gawaxab, managing director Old Mutual Africa Operations, has said.

In his latest economic outlook, !Gawaxab said Namibia “clearly” has a “labour absorption problem that needs urgent attention”.

“A major rethink of labour laws is required as these relate to productivity, and there is an urgent need to implement youth employment programmes,” he said.

Government’s Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (Tipeeg) needs to “gather pace sharply and quickly”, !Gawaxab said.

Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila last year budgeted for more than N$14 billion to be spent on Tipeeg projects over three years to combat the country’s high unemployment rate, which varies between 33,8% and 51,2%.

The Namibian Labour Force Survey (NLFS) of 2008 pinned broad unemployment, which includes discouraged job seekers, at 51,2%. However, the Namibia Household and Income Expenditure Survey (NHIES) of 2009-10 suggested that broad unemployment was closer to 33,8%. The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) is currently working on a new labour force survey.

!Gawaxab on Wednesday said for Tipeeg to be success, “flawless execution and tight monitoring of the approved projects” is necessary.

He further called for “significant improvemen” over a “broad front of state machinery at various levels”.

This includes “strong and moral leadership”, enforcing performance management in the public sector and building capacity in Government institutions.

In addition, !Gawaxab said, Government needs to implement policies to ensure that the majority Namibians have access to basic services like housing, health, education, sanitation, water and electricity.

Namibia has good Government policies and a solid fiscal position, !Gawaxab said.

“Most of our challenges stem from sub-optimal delivery in the public system.

“If we focus on rigorous policy implementation, monitoring and performance management, we should do well in 2013 and beyond,” he said.

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