In an effort to combat the high unemployment rate in Namibia, the government is set to create about 2800 jobs in the Namibian Correctional Services, Namibian Police and the Namibian Defense Force this year.
The Namibian Police will recruit 1000 people, to significantly relieve the human resource constraints currently being experienced while the Namibia Correction Services has already commenced with its intake of 300 recruits. The Namibian Defense Force will recruit 1500 soldiers as part of the effort.
President Hage Geingob made this revelation during the State of the Nation Address in the Namibian Parliament. The Namibia Defense Force has recruited 1470 people during 2022.
The President said that the recruitment drive is focussed on the challenge of unemployment in the country. The president also there is a concerted effort to bridge the ‘Skills Gap’ and prepare for future Jobs. In this regard the University of Namibia has established the Green Hydrogen Research Institute to respond to the urgent need for high-level expertise, laboratory and other scientific infrastructure required to deliver clean energy resources.
In the current Financial Year the government allocated N$20.6 billion which translates to 24 percent of public expenditure towards the Education Sector, from which N$200 million is alocated for the recruitment of new teachers.
The President said that this is the reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to driving reforms towards transforming the education sector which of late has come under heavy scrutiny by many experts and criticism by the public, amidst high failure rates for 2022.
Geingob said that this is why, through project financing, he gave directives in 2017 for the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture to implement the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Improvement Programme.
The government also N$1 billion in funding from the African Development Bank. The Programme is still ongoing with renovations and upgrading of 22 schools; one National Library; two Vocational Training Centres and the construction of a new (VTC) at Keetmanshoop and a Veterinary Teaching Hospital at UNAM.
Despite all this, the President of the Popular Democratic Movement, Mchenry Venaani said that he is not convinced that government truly have the interests of the youth at heart whie refering to the condom tender saga of N$650 million awarded to one individual by the Central Procurement Board of Namibia.
In the same vein, the PDM’s members of parliament raised posters during the state of the nation address, with questions seemingly addressed to Geingob. Posters with sloagans such as – Fishrot still stinks: Declare youth unemployment as a state of emergency: Being taught under the tree: That’s shady public management..
Surprisingly enough, a motion passed in Parliament last year by Inna Hengari of the Landless People’s Movement calling for the Head of State to declare youth unemployment as a state of emergency.
In response to this, the President acknowledged that youth unemployment in the country is a crisis situation, but added that he is weary of declaring a state of emergency, as such a process requires advice an diliberation.
“Let us talk about it. I believe in dialogue but the problem is that you like to talk to me and I’m not a member of parliament. I am not your counterpart; I am a guest here. You cannot equate yourself to me. Talk to the relevant appointed ministers”, the President said in his response to the PDM leader.
Furthermore, Venaani continued hammering on constraints hampering young people from getting jobs as he questioned the President if he is ready to re-negotiate the current ten percent share the government gets from oil and other resources for the benefit of future generations, in the context of building more jobs. He believes if the government increases on its current dismal ten percent it will put Namibia into a better position to create more jobs and infrastructure.
Meanwhile, the President said that the cornerstone of democracy lies in the active participation of citizens in the governance of their nation which includes the ability to hold elected leaders accountable.
He added with emphasis that transparency in government operations is not a privilege but a fundamental right of the people and that only through open and honest communication can trust be established between the government and the people, who are the ultimate sovereigns.
Geingob maintained that the economic recovery and inclusive growth in Namibia rests upon the implementation of robust anti-corruption measures across all institutions in the public and private sectors.
“This process was followed by a National Consultative Conference in October 1998, where several recommendations were formulated, one being that a national anti-corruption agency be established. These initiatives eventually led to the passing of the Anti-Corruption Act of 2003 which established the Anti-Corruption Commission,” the President said.
Geingob said that one of the top priorities during the period under review was to strengthen the anti-corruption mechanisms to effectively respond to corruption.
The President aldso highlighted the approval of the Second National Anti-Corruption Strategy and Action Plan (2022 – 2025) which stands as a notable milestone, demonstrating the country’s commitment to combating corruption.
In 2018, when Geingob received news of disturbing allegations mainly directed at some Ministries and Offices, he had to take i“I decided to address the situation knowing that serious reputational damage was done to the ability of such Ministries and Offices to effectively execute their constitutional and statutory mandates. In this regard, my actions were three-pronged,” he said.
“Firstly, I requested the accused Ministers to respond to the allegations; secondly, I submitted the written rebuttals of the Ministers to the Anti-Corruption Commission for scrutiny and investigation, where warranted and finally, I transferred those Ministers in order to enable any subsequent investigation to take place without interference or the possibility thereof. Concerning the Fishrot case, since the matter is in court, I cannot comment on it,” the President explained.
He said that global growth has slowed down in 2022 and is expected to remain subdued in 2023, however, Namibia’s domestic economy has demonstrated resilience, registering a better-than-expected growth of four percent last year, with expectation for further forecasted growth to be around 3.2 percent this year.
The President noted that the return of the economy to a positive growth trajectory is welcome, as it brings the much-needed growth in revenue collections as well as stemming the trend of declining per capita income.
Despite progress made, the President noted with concern that, financial exclusion remains a challenge in rural areas, the informal sector and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
“Therefore, the Bank of Namibia is currently coordinating the development of a new Financial Sector Transformation Strategy to achieve a higher degree of financial inclusion,” he said.
During the past several months, there has been much speculation and discussion centred on the discovery of oil in Namibia and the Presidentcleared the air, that indeed Namibia has discovered oil.
“It is therefore pertinent that I inform the nation of this matter. I am pleased to confirm that a discovery of light oil has been made within the Orange Basin offshore Namibia. Shell Namibia Upstream BV in a joint venture with Qatar Oil, have further drilled a second well, which is termed an appraisal well, to establish the quality and the extent of the reservoir. These discoveries are driving renewed interest in oil and gas exploration off the coast of Namibia”.
He added that a further discovery of light oil with associated gas has been made in the Orange Basin by Total Energies. A comprehensive coring and logging programme designed to assess the commerciality of this discovery has been completed and Total Energies has started the preparation of appraisal operations, to drill two approved wells. This will also determine the extent and commerciality of the discovery.
Touching on Social Progression, the President indicated that, in order to mitigate hunger poverty and reduce transactional costs, the Food Bank was converted in April 2022 into a monthly cash transfer amount, to phase in a Conditional Basic Income Grant with monthly payments of N$600 and grants to war veterans that amounted to N$871 million per annum.
The number includes the N$100 increase to all vulnerable people, translating into N$860 million as indicated by Iipumbu Shiimi in his tabling of the annual budget for the 2023/24 financial year in parliament.
“In 2022, the Government spent N$104 million on the national school feeding programme, reaching 320 000 school-going children at primary and secondary school levels. Based on this, it means more than 30 percent of the total population receives a government grant in one form or another, which translates to approximately 620 000 individuals, not considering the multiplier effect of beneficiaries per household,” Geingob said.
During the past year government through the Ministry of Rural and Urban Development proclaimed a total of 21 townships and 528 housing units have been constructed since April 2022.In addressing the use of the unhygienic bucket toilet system, the government has up until now, abolished 366 bucket toilets by constructing 250 flush toilets in Kalkfeld, Otjozondjupa Region and 116 flush toilets in Fransfontein, Kunene Region.
The government further allocated N$1.7 million to the Katima Mulilo, Rundu and Otavi local authorities, to address sewerage challenges, where 13 ablution facilities have been constructed through the Community Led Total Sanitation programme in Kunene Region, while 175 new sanitation facilities were constructed in Zambezi, Hardap, Omusati, Oshikoto and Ohangwena regions, respectively.