Namibia, March 21, 2018: Over 60 000 jobs lost in 2016/17

About 60 000 jobs were lost across the economy during the 2016/17 financial year, according to the latest Employment Equity Commission report submitted to parliament last week.

The job losses experienced across all economic sectors (and especially the construction industry) in 2016 and 2017 have been attributed to the depressed economic conditions experienced in the country since 2016.

Most of the state’s construction projects have been put on hold due to a lack of funds and government having to settle outstanding invoices of contractors that amounted to N$2,2 billion.

This has contributed to a severe decline in activity in the construction sector, which relied heavily on government contracts.

About 6 510 jobs were lost in the construction industry during the period 2016/17. The number of jobs lost in the construction industry was drawn from 87 companies, which submitted reports to the Employment Equity Commission (EEC).

According to the report, 25 000 individuals lost their jobs either through non-renewals of contracts, dismissals over misconduct, or retrenchments, while about 20 000 employees resigned from their jobs.

At least 14 385 people left their jobs for unspecified reasons, while 338 lost their jobs due to incapacity during the period under review.

Of the total number of employees who lost their jobs, 36 424 were men, and 23 669 women.

“The previously racially disadvantaged represented 94% of employees whose contracts of employment were terminated, of which 39% were women, and 0,5% were persons with disabilities,” the report stated.

For the new financial year (2018/19), works and transport minister John Mutorwa announced recently that another 320 of 570 infrastructure capital projects which were planned for this financial year, have been put on hold because of lack of funding.

Late last year, finance minister Calle Schlettwein said government has paid contractors across all sectors for work already done.

However, The Namibian has been receiving complaints from contractors about government not having paid them to date, since Schlettwein announced the payment of outstanding invoices in September last year.

Also last year, the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) said around 10 000 people had lost their jobs due to non-payments for projects by government in 2016.

The (EEC) report states that most jobs were lost in the wholesale and retail sector, with over 13 000 jobs lost through dismissals and non-renewal of contracts, while about 10 000 people also lost their jobs in the public service.

Other sectors affected by job losses include the services sector with 6 480, the fishing sector with 4 811, the agriculture industry with 3 368, and the tourism and hospitality sector with 2 715.

The mining, manufacturing and financial sectors all cut over 2 000 jobs. (The Namibian, Windhoek)