By Marianne Nghidengwa
A total of 831 workers lost their jobs during the first three months of the year, as retrenchments rocked 90 companies countrywide.
In February there were 414 retrenchments in the country, involving 41 business entities.
January saw 12 companies lay off 93 employees, while in March 324 workers lost their jobs in 37 companies.
These statistics were revealed by Chief Public Relations officer in the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment, Maria Hedimbi, who said that the sectors which had recorded the most retrenchments between January and March this year were wholesale and retail trade, construction, accommodation and food services, agriculture, forestry and fishing, manufacturing, transport and storage, mining, education, human health and social work activities.
Labour expert Herbert Jauch said the unfolding retrenchments was a huge crisis, while adding that the startling figures only represent what has been reported to authorities.
These latest statistics have emerged after the Namibia Statistics Agency released the preliminary results of its 2016 Labour Force Survey, which indicated that unemployment in the country had increased to 34 percent of the working population last year, from 28.1 percent in 2014, when the previous survey was conducted.
The survey showed that 349 383 Namibians were unemployed out of an estimated labour force of 1.5 million.
According to Hedimbi, the wholesale and retail trade sector was the hardest hit between January and March this year, with 401 workers left jobless, followed by the construction industry with 120 retrenchments.
Hedimbi said that the accommodation industry laid off 91 workers between January and March this year, followed by agriculture, which retrenched 61 employees.
Manufacturing services saw 60 workers sent home for good, while the transport sector retrenched 46 employees.
In the mining industry, 27 workers were left jobless, while 15 were retrenched in the education sector and 10 lost their jobs in the human health and social work activities sector.
Economic or financial difficulties accounted for 636 of the total retrenchments, while the restructuring of 23 companies resulted in 79 workers losing their jobs.
The closures of six companies resulted in 66 job losses. At least 43 workers were retrenched because of contract-related issues. The takeover of one company saw four workers jobless, while three employees became unemployed over unnamed reasons.
Hedimbi said that the highest number of workers retrenched was recorded in the Khomas region, with 523 employees left jobless between January and March, while the //Karas and Erongo regions suffered retrenchments of 140 and 64 workers, respectively.
A total of 29 retrenchments were recorded in Otjozondjupa, followed by Oshikoto with 26 and Hardap with 20 retrenchments, during the period.
The least retrenchments were recorded in the Oshana region with 18, the Omaheke region with seven and Kunene with four.
“The actual figure might be higher, because we have seen mass retrenchments in construction. It is extremely worrying, especially because there are no statistics for the informal economy, so it is monumental,” Jauch said.
“We need targeted development interventions by government, which will create certain industries to provide jobs.”
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015