MPs question effectiveness of unemployment interventions

Martin Endjala

A comment by the Deputy Minister of Works and Transport that he does not agree with the sentiments that government is not doing enough to address the high unemployment in the country got opposition MPs hot under the collar.

Veikko Nekundi’s comment was not well received by PDM MP Vipuakuje Muharukua, but the Swapo deputy minister said the motion, that was tabled by PDM’s Inna Hengari, is aimed at downplaying good things done by the ruling party.

The motion, Nekundi said, is very important, but is coated in an amateurish content that seems to be geared for campaigning in preparation for the 2024 elections. ‘’when I look at the motion, it’s a copy and paste of the Swapo manifesto’s programs”, opined Nekundi.

Muharukua through a point of order advised Nekudi that the motion is moved on a non-partisan basis and that it is seeking to reduce problems affecting the livelihoods of the people, arguing that politicizing and belittling issues is not what the motion is seeking to address.

He then asked why high unemployment rates persist it the government has programmes in place.
“It is still not enough, and if you claim to be committed how much employment has been created so far, and how many of these youth have actually benefited directly. You can’t prove it don’t you?’’ he stated.

The deputy minister then said the constant opposition of political parties to programs that are put
in place to tackle unemployment in the country, is also a contributing factor to the high rate.

He also accused some political parties of engineering strategies to block projects that are aimed at developing and uplifting the livelihoods of the people through job creation.

Nekundu highlighted that the just concluded Swapo National Policy Conference speaks volumes
as it adopted modalities to tackle issues such as youth unemployment, skills development, enhancing the economy and health to mention but a few.

He called on all MPs to support programs that are geared to reduce youth unemployment in order to fulfil expectations of unemployment youth.
Nekundi emphasized that about N$1.1 billion has been allocated by the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN) since its establishment for youth enterprises over 10 years.

This goes to show that government is addressing the issue.

But, Muharukua said that there is a need to revisit all these interventions given their ineffectiveness.

“Political will alone, will not put bread and butter on people’s tables, it must be accompanied by actions,’’ said the PDM parliamentarian.

Bernadus Swartbooi, the leader of the Landless People’ Movement and MP stressed that many of these programs are scattered and not coordinated, hence the need to revive them and to bring in more coordination that can amicably resolve issues of unemployment.
The LPM leader will be expounding more on this motion next week Tuesday.

By Observer