Half of all Namibians unemployedBy: JO-MARÉ DUDDY
ONE out of every two Namibians in the country is jobless, Government has confirmed in its latest labour force survey.
The Namibia Labour Force Survey (NLFS) 2008 shows that 51,2 per cent of all Namibians are unemployed. This includes people who are looking for a full-time job and people who have given up trying to find work.
Labour and Social Welfare Minister Immanuel Ngatjizeko had already signed the report last September, but has yet to officially release it.
The survey, of which The Namibian has a copy, shows that 58,4 per cent of women in Namibia are unemployed, while over 40 per cent of men are jobless.
“The NLFS 2008 overall unemployment rate (broad definition) is 51,2 per cent which is relatively higher than 36,7 per cent estimated in 2004,” it states.
This figure may already be higher as it does not include the retrenchments of last year due to the recession, economists have warned.
Labour expert Herbert Jauch estimates that broad unemployment in Namibia could currently run as high as 55 per cent.
A breakdown of the NLFS statistics paints a dark picture, particularly for young people in the country.
More than 60 per cent of Namibians between the ages of 15 to 34 can’t find work.
In the group for 15 and 19 years, more than 83 per cent are unemployed. More than 67 per cent of Namibians between 20 and 24 years are stranded without employment.
For those between the ages of 25 to 29, more than 53 per cent are jobless, while 46 per cent of people between 30 and 34 years share the same predicament.
For Namibians of 50 years and older, the broad unemployment rate is 35 per cent.
Omusati has the highest unemployment rate at 78,6 per cent in the country, followed by Ohangwena with 76,4 per cent.
Unemployment in the other regions stands at 70 per cent in Kavango, 68,6 per cent in Oshikoto, 65,6 per cent in Caprivi, 50,4 per cent in Kunene, 48,8 per cent in Oshana, 48,2 per cent in Omaheke, 43,8 per cent in Otjozondjupa, 38,6 per cent in Hardap, 33,5 per cent in Khomas and 32,6 per cent in Erongo.
Nearly 65 per cent of those living in rural areas are jobless, while more than 36 per cent in towns are stuck without work.
The report further shows that more than 72 per cent of jobless people have been unemployed for two years or more.
Subsistence farming are the only hope for many, as the majority of households, more than 72 per cent, have no secondary source of income.
The survey also gives the latest figures for unemployment in Namibia according to the strict definition. The strict definition of unemployment looks only at people who take active steps to find work.
According to the Namibia Labour Force Survey 2008, the strict unemployment rate in the country has climbed steadily since 2000, when it was 20,2 per cent. In 2004 it reached 21,9 per cent, only to spiral to 29,4 per cent in 2008.
In his preface, Minister Ngatjizeko describes the survey as “by far superior in scope and quality to any that has been available previously, in particular that it incorporated a detailed module on informal sector and informal employment”.
“Apart from informing the public about the state of employment in Namibia, the survey results, and in particular the unemployment rate, should provide a basis for the evaluation and analysis of the macro-economic policies of the country. The results will also be essential in the design and evaluation of overall government policies aimed at promoting and creating employment,” Ngatjizeko says.
The Minister told The Namibian yesterday afternoon that the NLFS 2008 will probably be launched and published within the next two weeks.
Asked why he has kept the contents of the report secret for four months, Ngatjizeko said he couldn’t recall that he had the report in September already.
“I also had a lot of other things to do,” he said.
The Tender Board on Monday announced in the Government daily New Era that companies making use of foreign unskilled and semi-skilled workers will, without exception, no longer qualify for Government tenders.
It follows Finance Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila’s statement at the opening of the Tender Board a fortnight ago, saying that a review of the Tender Board Act was long overdue as it did not address certain new developments in the country.
She specifically wanted the review to follow up on successful bidders’ commitment to affirmative action, job creation and the sourcing of local products.