n Albertina Nakale
WINDHOEK – Unemployment stands at 28.4 percent in the Khomas Region, Governor Laura McLeod-Katjirua said in her state of the region address yesterday.
This is below the national unemployment figure of 34 percent.
Despite enormous investment into the region, the levels of unemployment continue to grow, especially among the labour active youth. McLeod-Katjirua said one of reasons for the escalating levels of unemployment is that the region – which is home to the capital Windhoek – is an affluent one that absorbs big numbers of people from all over Namibia in search of better opportunities, education and health amenities. The majority of the people flocking to or already live in Windhoek and Khomas are youth, the governor noted. According to her, unemployment is in part due to the fact that the structure of the economy is still narrow, with the majority on primary production and export. The poor performance of the economy in 2017 is also fuelled joblessness.
“This has had negative impact on job creation and eventually improved income and, consequently poverty reduction. There is need for diversification and expansion. Unemployment is still high, with a bias towards the youth and persons in rural areas. This, if not tamed in a short run, could have negative social repercussions both at household and society levels,” she reacted. Those employed in the informal sector make up 57 percent of the employed population, which is an indication of how important the informal sector is in Khomas. Those considered being in vulnerable employment in the Khomas Region stand at 12 percent of the total employed. Further, she said the majority have been unemployed for longer than a year.
In terms of youth unemployment, the national average stands at 43 percent, whilst it stands at 37.5 percent for Khomas. She noted that the majority of the people flocking to or already living in Windhoek and Khomas Region are youth.
In terms of social progression, out of the total 23 337 social grant recipients for old-age pension and disability grant in Namibia, 4 701 of those are in the Khomas Region.
The governor said the region continues to implement the food bank programme, which is aimed at addressing hunger and food insecurity in the urban and peri-urban areas in Namibia.
The programme – which is in pilot stage – is currently operational in seven constituencies of Moses //Garoëb, John Pandeni, Samora Machel, Katutura East, Katutura Central, Tobias Hainyeko and Khomas. The current total beneficiaries on the programme in all seven constituencies stands at 15 156 households, which the governor says represents 68 499 persons.
She also revealed that the regional council had to redirect N$32 million to combat the hepatitis E outbreak that gripped Windhoek in the recent months. The money was meant for the upgrading of informal townships such Okahandja Park A, B, C, D and Onyika.
To date, she said council has procured 25 tanks and, as of May 2018, council had about 30 concrete castings done, 23 water tanks installed, 360 standpipes ordered, 7 kilometre extension of water network completed, while 260 water samples were collected with satisfactory results free from clostridium perfringens.
Furthermore, she maintained four toilets have been installed at Havana in April, 391 broken toilets were repaired, and 10 rivers cleaned and decontaminated, while additional 16 flushing toilets are to be constructed by end of June. The Khomas Regional Council intend on constructing 66 flush toilets at the estimated cost of N$1.2 million.