WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare is preparing legislation under which to establish an Employment Creation Commission.
The planned commission will be tasked with research, analysis and coordination of policies and programmes focussed on employment creation, including the implementation of the National Employment Policy. President Hifikepunye Pohamba revealed this yesterday when he launched Namibia’s 2013 National Employment Policy during the two-day National Employment Conference in Windhoek. “In order to succeed, we must as a matter of urgency, take practical steps to reduce the high levels of poverty, inequality and unemployment, while ensuring industrial peace and harmony in all sectors of the economy,” he said at the event.
The new National Employment Policy was formulated to facilitate the implementation of specific interventions to achieve the objectives of Namibia’s 4th National Development Plan (NDP4) and Vision 2030. The policy is linked to the country’s industrial policy, which is aimed at strengthening and mainstreaming the employment creation dimension of the identified priority economic sectors under NDP4. “The policy is a product of extensive consultations between the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and various other role players. Its overall goal is to promote full, productive and decent employment that will eradicate poverty and reduce income inequalities,” Pohamba said.
The policy also focusses on key areas for job creation, namely modernization of the agricultural sector and food production; systematic and targeted value addition; renewable energy generation and green jobs, housing and sanitation, tourism, as well as small and medium size enterprise development and the transformation of the informal economy. “I believe that the objectives of this policy will only be achieved when all role players take ownership of and implement the policy in a structured and co-ordinated manner. I call upon the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to provide policy direction and coordination, as the custodian and secretariat for the implementation of the employment policy,” he said. Pohamba added that the recently announced Mass Housing Scheme under which 185 000 houses are supposed to be build during the next five years, has huge potential for job creation. He therefore urged the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, as well as the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and other stakeholders to incorporate the training of unskilled workers, particularly women and youth, in the implementation of the ambitious scheme.
The 2012 Labour Force Survey indicated Namibia’s national unemployment rate is 27.4 percent, while unemployment amongst youths aged 20 to 24 stands at 48.5 percent. In all age groups, the percentage of unemployed women is higher than that of men, which the president noted as “a serious concern.” While welcoming delegates to the national conference, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Doreen Sioka said: “Employment is the pulse of the national economy. Unemployment is a disease that both the public and private sector must fight.” Also speaking at the opening of the conference, the Director of the International Labour Organisation’s Pretoria Office, Vic van Vuuren, noted that there are about 250 million unemployed people in the world, of which about 75 million are young people. Van Vuuren continued that social dialogue needs to be inclusive, beyond the employment arena and that countries that have impacted unemployment in a meaningful way have taken bold but necessary steps.