Young people are surviving on the pensions of their grandparents – Venaani

Stefanus Nashama

The leader of the Popular Democratic Movement, McHenry Venaani, said young people, especially in the rural areas depend on the pension of their grandparents to survive.

This, he said, is because the country’s economy is not functioning for young people to start up and grow small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“Penioners drive the economy in the villages because there is no functional rural economy. Young people live on the pension money,” Venaani said.

He was contributing to a motion brought to parliament yesterday by the PDM’s member, Maximillian Katjimune, for the house to investigate the bottlenecks around SME’s financing to unleash greater access and economic potential for the crucial sector of the Namibian economy.

According to Venaani, the government has no constructive support for SME growth.

There is also no venture capital made available for young people to start businesses and expand the SME market for economic development, he added.

The member further lamented that private sector companies, such as banks are not doing enough to meet SMEs halfway.

In his motion, Katjimune stated that around 70 percent of SMEs are destined to fail almost immediately upon commencement of operation.

“It is worth mentioning that the contradiction around our failing SME sector is further illustrated when one does a comparative analysis between the proposed solution to the youth unemployment crisis that young people must become job creators and not job seekers through the creation of SMEs and the stark reality that around 70 percent of SMEs in fact do not succeed in Namibia,” he said.

Adding that one of the greatest impediments facing the SME sector in the country is the lack of financing and access to capital in light of the collapse of the SME Bank in 2017.

Katjimune pointed out the burden falls upon policymakers to decisively intervene in efforts to rescue the SME sector.

“Without a sustainable and strong SME sector which can withstand economic and political headwinds, our economy will not be able to grow in an upward trajectory nor produce the requisite number of jobs needed to defeat the scourge of youth unemployment in particular and youth unemployment in general,” he reiterated.

He further reiterated that Ramatex could be used for SME development in the country.

Commenting on the motion, Prime Minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, informed the house there are programs established to find solutions concerning the matter.

This, she said, includes the establishment of a micro-financial fund and community development fund – an annual budget aimed at supporting SMEs in the country.

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