Omuthiya-The Governor of Oshikoto Region, Henock Kankoshi, is concerned about the alarming unemployment rate in the region, which he said is pegged at 40 percent, which tallies with the high poverty level at 42.6 percent.
“The rate, according to the 2011 Population and Housing Census, stood at 40 percent for Oshikoto Region and from the look of things today, it has not changed much, if at all. This situation is indeed worrisome and presents a formidable challenge. In this regard we need to arrest the situation and join forces by supporting manufacturing and SME development initiatives,” said Kankoshi with sadness in his eyes.
Kankoshi highlighted the situation last week during discussions on the implementation of the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), describing the situation as one of the pressing issues that need serious attention in the region.
Other social ills, he pointed out, include inadequate basic infrastructure in rural areas such as lack of access to potable water, sanitation, network connection and roads and limited education facilities.
“Some of the rural schools are still operating from traditional classrooms made out of traditional makeshift materials, making the teaching and learning processes difficult,” stated Kankoshi.
Furthermore, he said, there is an urgent need to increase serviced land in urban areas in the region, especially Omuthiya, Tsumeb and Oniipa towns, and the settlement areas of Oshivelo, Onayena and Onyuulaye in order to address the burning issues of land and affordable housing.
In addition, he urged those in attendance that for such challenges to be addressed special attention should be applied in sectors of agriculture, tourism, mining and SME development.
“I mention some sectors which are major contributors to economic development of the region, and the challenges the region is facing. It would be good if we can pay close attention to these sectors and challenges during our deliberations.
“About 33 percent of the inhabitants of Oshikoto Region depend on agriculture as the main source of income, so does tourism which is also one of the major contributors to the regional economy, hence it needs to be explored further as it has the potential to offer employment opportunities to communities,” said Kankoshi.