Our job losses monster

13 June 2019 | Columns

The unemployment problem is a very serious crisis that demands immediate attention. It is somewhat bewildering that despite the urgency of this problem and its impacts on the Namibian economy, there is no big talk about it. The powers that be are ostensibly ignorant of the fact that more than 364 000 people - mostly between the ages of 20 and 24 - were unemployed last year in Namibia. As we pen this editorial, the unemployment rate in 2018 stood at 33.4%, compared to 27.9% in 2014. It must be stated that unemployment remains one of the most challenging social problems currently facing our fellow countrymen and women, especially the young and productive citizens of this nation. Many unemployed graduates are drowning in their own misery and only have desperate tales to tell at the moment. Their prospects of adding value to the Namibian economy are evidently crippled by the unemployment crisis currently enveloping our nation, amid high levels of inequality. The latest statistics released by the Employment Equity Commission makes for grim reading. According to the EEC, nearly 37 000 employment contracts were terminated for various reasons, with the wholesale retail sector leading the pack with 12 580 terminations. The agriculture and construction sectors were also hard hit by massive job losses. As it stands, almost half of Namibian youth are without jobs, a sad situation that has seen large masses of frustrated young people sitting at home with university qualifications. It goes without saying that the unemployment crisis should therefore be a top priority, given its serious ramifications on the already limping Namibian economy. Regrettably there seems to be no sense of panic when it comes to the unfolding crisis around jobs, and one wonders if those in power really understand the severity of this problem. By the way, the unemployment bomb has long exploded and Namibia, the Land of the Brave, now risks becoming an unmanageable nation if nothing serious is done to tackle this vicious monster.

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