Windhoek-President Hage Geingob has revealed that he will soon leave for China following an invitation by the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, to discuss pertinent issues relating to trade as well as economic and political relations of the two sisterly countries.
Geingob could however not name the exact date he would be leaving for China on a state visit.
He mentioned this on Monday during a consultative meeting with the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) at State House where he discussed the state of the country’s economy with the unions.
“We are very honoured – I would say as a small country we are number one or two to have been invited to China. We are going to arrive there when the president has just been given a new mandate, a very powerful mandate,” he said.
China has approved the removal of the two-term limit on the presidency, effectively allowing Xi Jinping to remain in power for life.
The constitutional changes were passed by the annual sitting of parliament, the National People’s Congress.
The vote was widely regarded as a rubber-stamping exercise. Two delegates voted against the change and three abstained, out of 2,964 votes.
Geingob said only two countries from the African continent have been invited – Namibia and Zimbabwe.
He noted that among the items to be discussed is how they will use certain loan facilities – provided they have good conditions.
According to him, loans should never be taken to pay for salaries but to pay for infrastructure.
He said he is optimistic about the state of the Namibian economy, adding: “We are having a financial crisis but definitely we are getting out of the woods. I think by next year we should be doing very well.”
He said he invited the trade unions to discuss the state of the economy, as all along he would only meet them to talk about wages and increments.
Geingob said trade unions should understand that as much as the government is concerned about their employed members, the state is equally troubled by the unemployed, especially the youth.
He called on trade unions to come on board and help the government fight unemployment.
Geingob referred to when he intervened in the 2016 wage negotiations to avert a national teachers’ strike.
“When we were negotiating the conditions of the workers – especially with Nantu [Namibia National Teachers Union] where I was involved – we said ‘why do you think the Swapo government will be against the workers? Why do we think if we have money we would like to increase when necessary?’ So, there is no money and we tried to say we eventually found each other as Namibians and moved on. We saved what could have been a potential bad situation to our country and the economy,” he remarked.
So, he said, the consultation with the unions is in that light that they met to discuss the economy, mostly youth unemployment, adding that youth unemployment is a problem.
He called on the unions to think innovatively on how to create jobs for young people.