Namibia: Only 850 Jobs Created in 2019

More than 100 000 job-seekers scrambled for 850 job opportunities created in the public and private sector in the last six months.

The statistics were obtained from the labour ministry's Namibia Integrated Employment Information System (NIEIS), which records and links job-seekers to available vacancies in the public and private sectors.

The ministry's match-making platform only managed to place 265 job-seekers during the six-month period.

The labour ministry's spokesperson, Maria Hedimbi, told The Namibian this week that in six months - 1 April to 30 October - the ministry only recorded 857 vacancies in the public and private sectors, with over 100 000 job-seekers on the system.

According to her, 191 vacancies were recorded from 1 April to 30 June, while 666 jobs were recorded from 1 July to 30 October.

These job opportunities were mainly created in the service industry, the wholesale and retail industry, the mining industry, as well as the motor-vehicles repair and quarrying industries.

The statistics provided by the labour and employment-creation ministry suggests that Namibia's unemployment situation is worsening in the midst of a struggling economy.

However, Hedimbi said the statistics on jobs created represents the vacancies which were reported to the ministry by registered designated employers.

She added that the figures do not represent the full picture of employment created because some designated employers were still not registered, and some of those registered were not complying with the regulations.

The statistics paint a picture of desperation among Namibians. Namibia has an employable population of over one million people.

Over 360 000 people of the active employable population are unemployed, according to the Namibia Statistics Agency. This represents 33,4% of the total employable population.

The desperate situation for jobs amongst Namibians, especially the youth, was evident during the past few months when large crowds of people scrambled for a few low-paying vacancies that occurred within the public sector.

For instance, the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation reported that around 26 000 people applied for 120 correctional officer positions at the Namibia Correctional Services.

Sadly, only 9 200 of the applicants were shortlisted. In a similar incident, during September, nearly 6 000 people sat for written interviews for nine cleaning positions advertised by the health ministry in the Ohangwena region.

Most recently, close to 4 000 unemployed young people filled up both the Katutura Intermediate and the Windhoek Central in hopes of securing one of the nine cleaning jobs which were advertised.

Apart from these widely reported incidents, in July this year, the national broadcaster also reported that more than 600 people turned up for a written interview for one position in the ministry of education in the Oshikoto region.

The Namibian was further informed that about 228 people scrambled for two senior human resources management positions advertised in the Office of the Prime Minister and the justice ministry, and a deputy director post at the vice president's office between July and October this year.

POLITICAL RHETORIC

The topic of employment-creation, especially among the youth, features prominently in some of the manifestos of political parties contesting the presidential and National Assembly elections on 27 November.

The majority of the political parties have promised to initiate policies which will alleviate the country's economic woes to create employment.

The Popular Democratic Movement (PDM), for example, promised to reduce the unemployment rate from the current 34% to 11% through agricultural transformation.

PDM leader McHenry Venaani said his government will construct three desalination plants in three key locations, namely the Kunene region, one between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, and another at Lüderitz.

The desalination plants will be linked to catchment dams to be built in "every region to support irrigation and aquaponics," he added.

"If we want to bring jobs to our country, we must make sure that we have an agricultural sector that is mechanised, modernised, and that can be able to feed our own people," he stated.

The PDM's plan for agricultural modernisation is backed by the Landless People's Movement (LPM), which also wants to create jobs through the agricultural sector.

In its manifesto, the PDM is also advocating business needs to be linked to the education system to ensure that the country only trains people in high-demand fields.

The PDM furthermore promised to construct manufacturing factories in all constituencies in the country to "unleash rural potential".

Swanu, on the other hand, said it will address unemployment by linking the technical vocational education and training (TVET) and higher education institutions to collaborate with industry.

The All People's Party (APP) last month promised to address unemployment through the establishment of well-developed sports facilities in all constituencies in Namibia to encourage sports development.

Independent candidate Panduleni Itula vowed to introduce the non-discriminatory funding of development cooperative projects for youth development countrywide.

He stated in his manifesto that industries and established businesses in the country would be obliged to hire Namibian citizens first "if they wish to operate".

The independent presidential candidate did not clarify how he intends to realise this dream.

The ruling Swapo Party promised to "further safeguard macroeconomic stability".

They further stressed the need to strengthen and develop policies to ensure that capital allocation supports employment and wealth-creation, as well as the "industrialisation of the local economy".

Another promise by the ruling party is the diversification of the blue economy, manufacturing and mineral beneficiation, amongst others.

RE-THINK THE ECONOMY

Labour expert Herbert Jauch told The Namibian this week that events show that the government has dismally failed to create employment, observing that various interventions proposed by the government so far have been "haphazard".

He said policymakers need to rethink the economic structure of the country, and to set out what the government's role is "to generate the required number of jobs".

He added that political parties also need to come up with concrete and workable plans to solve the problem, as opposed to just selling dreams to voters.

"In my view, the political parties might not provide coherent answers. It is a monumental crisis. We need to look at the economic system that we have, and question if it is suitable for Namibia to create the number of jobs.

"That will be the challenge for the political parties to now present concrete and coherent proposals that can convince the unemployed that this might bring about change," Jauch stated.

Unam lecturer Omu Kakujaha-Matundu said despite the uncertainties experienced in the agriculture sector, more attention and resources must still be allocated to the agricultural sector to create jobs.

He added that this sector only needs to be de-risked from the dry climatic conditions by reducing the dependence on rain for production.

Another economist, Klaus Schade, said unemployment was inevitable, as labour-intensive sectors such as construction and wholesale and the retail trade have been contracting and shedding jobs.

Schade noted that the current state of the economy will need an all-hands-on-deck approach, starting with the creation of an attractive environment for domestic and foreign direct investors.

Moreover, capital projects need to be allocated to Namibian companies to ensure that the money remains in circulation within the domestic economy, rather than leaving the country.

The finance minister's directive to source locally must be enforced, and the private sector needs to follow and identify local sources for their inputs, he added.

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Namibian

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.