Retrenchments rife in last quarter

Mining, wholesale and retail, as well as construction cited economic woes as the reason for their retrenchments.

12 February 2019 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy – More than 1 600 people in Namibia were retrenched in the last three months of 2018, mostly in the wholesale and retail, as well as in the construction sectors.

The latest data, released by the ministry of labour, industrial relations and employment creation yesterday, shows 50 companies countrywide laid off employees in the fourth quarter of 2018, totalling 1 601 workers.

In the process, the livelihoods of more than 70 000 were affected. The average household size in Namibia is 4.4 people, according to the Namibia Household Income and Expenditure Survey (NHIES) conducted in 2015/16.

The ministry warned that these numbers could be higher due to incomplete retrenchments notices and other regulatory requirements which some companies didn’t meet.

Mining, wholesale and retail, as well as construction cited economic woes as the reason for their retrenchments. In total, 1 257 people lost their jobs in these sectors. With ten consecutive quarters of negative growth up to the end of the third quarter of 2018, Namibia is in a full-blown recession.

According to the ministry, construction shed 478 jobs in the last quarter of 2018. This equals nearly 29.9% of all retrenchments in the quarter under review.


According to the latest figures of the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), construction recorded negative growth of 6.5% in the third quarter of last year. In the previous two quarters, positive growth of 24% and 24.6% was achieved. This growth came off a low base as construction spent the entire 2016 and 2017 in recession.

Wholesale and retail remained in negative territory in the third quarter of 2018, registering growth of -5.8%. The sector has been growing negatively since the last quarter of 2016.

According to the ministry, 405 people were retrenched in the sector in the last quarter of 2018.

The Khomas region bled the most jobs with 564 people or 35% of overall retrenchments. In //Kharas, 478 people were retrenched, nearly 29.9% of overall retrenchments. In Erongo, 106 people lost their jobs.

Other sectors which retrenched were: mining and quarrying (374 jobs), agriculture and fishing (201), water and security services (10), transport and storage (20), hospitality (68), information and communication (13), financial and insurance (5), education (7), health and social work (12), entertainment and recreation (7), and non-governmental organisations (1).

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