Youth losing faith in their leaders - Nghimtina

Marianne Nghidengwa

LABOUR, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Minister Erkki Nghimtina has warned that the youth are fast losing faith in their leaders and hope for a prosperous Namibia, underlining that the country has failed to solve the overriding problem of youth unemployment.

He said there has been great concern over the years about the extraordinary high level of unemployment that threatens the future of the youth and the overall socio-economic development of Namibia. “But to be honest, we as a nation have not succeeded to do what is needed to solve this overriding national problem,” he said at the opening of the Seminar on Employment Creation organized jointly by his ministry, International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the High Level Panel on the Namibian Economy in Windhoek this week.

He said the majority of unemployed youth who lack skills may require support to become employable. “Many are rapidly losing faith in their leaders and hope for a prosperous Namibia,” he noted. Nghimtina said his ministry was given the mandate to coordinate employment creation over four years ago.

“I will not go into the details of the numerous initiatives taken by the ministry to fulfil its mandate, but I want to state that the largest constraints to our efforts have been the failure of many key stakeholders to appreciate the importance of coordination of employment creation and the lack of financial support for employment creation.”

Nghimtina emphasised the need for government to put in place a regulatory regime to ensure that employment creation is maximised through the purchase of goods and services by all government entities and parastatals, as well as the awarding of capital projects and of valuable economic rights.

He said, among other things, government procurement should give preference to locally-produced goods, including uniforms, building materials and labour-intensive projects.

All multinational companies operating in Namibia should be compelled to provide support for the establishment and development of local enterprises in their supply chains,” he said.

He further said a new way of approaching development and investment should be adopted by placing emphasis on the explicit objective of employment creation at the centre of its economic development planning, policies, strategies and programmes, including professional education planning and skills development, procurement policies, investment initiatives and public-private partnerships.

As a first priority, a National Employment Creation Coordination Mechanism must be established, he added. The minister further said Employment Impact Assessments should become an indispensable part of the way government and the private sector operate. Every relevant proposed policy, programme, ministerial budget, tender and business financing application should include an Employment Impact Assessment that provides details as to employment to be created, skilled personnel required, types and value of local goods and services to be sourced directly and through supply chains, plans for training of employees and supporting SME development.

Tax incentives should be introduced to encourage the employment of the youth, he said.

The seminar was attended by the chairperson of the High Level Panelon the Namibian Economy, Johannes Gawaxab, Unam Vice Chancellor Professor Kenneth Matengu, secretary-general of the Namibian Employers Federation Tim Parkhouse, directors of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, South Africa and the secretary-general of the National Union of Namibian Workers, Job Muniaro and Mahgoro Kavihuha, secretary-general of the Trade Union Congress of Namibia, amongst others.