WINDHOEK - Government ministers and their representatives, and employers and workers from 185 ILO member states, including Namibia, adopted recommendations to provide “basic social security guarantees to all in need as defined by individual countries” at a recent conference on labour.
The parties recommended that basic social security should entail access to essential healthcare, including maternity care, basic minimum income security for children that would provide access to nutrition, education care and other goods and services, basic minimum income security for persons of active age who are unable to earn sufficient income especially in times of sickness, unemployment, maternity and disability, and basic income security for older persons.
These recommendations, dubbed the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, were made at the 101st International Conference on Labour hosted by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland on May 30 – June 15.
Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Immanuel Ngatjizeko, who attended the meeting said his ministry was preparing a report for Cabinet. He does not think that discussions on these recommendations by Parliament would take place before next year.
He said discussions on similar social grant issues, such as the old age pension fund, have already taken place. However, government will look at what Namibia can afford, how such grants could be financed and where the biggest gap lies in providing welfare.
“But we can’t preempt that discussion now,” added Ngatjizeko.
The attendants at the labour conference also made recommendations on youth employment and identified five keys areas that they believe would contribute to young people being employed, namely, employment and economic policies, employability which includes education, training and skills, work to school transition, labour market policies, entrepreneurship and self-employment and rights for young people.
Ngatjizeko said the ILO has also pledged to provide technical support in conducting a social expenditure audit in Namibia to identify gaps and to facilitate a national social protection policy.
“We were successful in securing ILO support for some of the work on the Wages Commission that is investigating the wages and conditions of domestic workers and to arrange the development of a training programme for labour inspectors,” he said.