Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) member of parliament Inna Hengari has called on President Hage Geingob to declare a state of emergency on the youth unemployment crisis during his State of Nation Address (SONA).
Youth unemployment in the country, according to Hengari, stands at 33.4%
In July last year, the National Assembly agreed to a motion by Hengari on youth unemployment, with the deputy Speaker Loide Kasingo having referred the motion to a parliamentary standing to conduct nationwide consultations with young people and civil society organisations.
“The expectations that I hold from President Hage Geingob as he tables his SONA is that he must declare a state of emergency on the youth unemployment crisis. I don’t know what we are waiting for,” Hengari opined.
Speaking to The Villager on Tuesday morning, Hengari said recent events of over 1,000 people showing up for job interviews shows the willingness and readiness of the youth to take up any job opportunity.
Last week over 2,000 jobseekers showed up for eight vacancies at the Temperature Restaurant and Lounge situated in Khomasdal, Windhoek.
“The recent events show the willingness and the readiness in young people to take up any job opportunity that they get out there,” Hengari pointed out.
She added that Geingob should take the young people into confidence and he must declare a state of emergency on the crisis.
According to statistics by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA), in 2021 the unemployment rate in the country was nearly unchanged at around 21.27%.
“Regardless of young people being educated, the fact remains young people are graduating to the streets of unemployment every year and that number keeps on growing,” she stressed.
Earlier this month the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (Namcor) announced a third oil discovery in the Orange Basin off Namibia’s southern coast.
This month the country also participated in the Africa Energy Indaba in Cape Town South Africa, seeking investments in its energy sector with high marketing of the green hydrogen project and oil discoveries.
However, political analyst Rui Tyitende said these projects will not yield benefits anytime soon and that the problems Namibia is facing are immediate.
“Oil production as we are told and green hydrogen will not have any immediate impact because we are now in the planning stages. What is it that the President will tell us that will be immediate and that will improve people’s quality of life.”
Tyitende also maintains Geingob’s SONA should address the unemployment situation in the country.
“We expect to point out what exactly he is going to do in the immediate term to address this crisis because it is a ticking time bomb. We want to hear a clear message of hope, practical hope,” he said.
During his New Year’s speech Geingob had termed the year 2023 as a year of Revival, when quizzed about whether one expects Geingob to take the theme into his address, Tyitende said, ‘Absolutely’.
He added: “What does revival mean? It is something that has died and is going to be resuscitated, what has died is the hope of many young Namibians and those 1.6 million people living in poverty.”
Economist Dr Omu Kakujaha said Geingob will be delivering his SONA at the back of an economy that is not thriving.
“Geingob should tell the nation on what plans the government will put on the table for Namibians seeking employment and reassure the nation that they will get out of the economic crisis they find themselves in,” Kakujaha said.
He also said the President should tell the nation on how he is going to address the energy issue in light of the developments in South Africa.
“What reassurance will he give us that we won’t get into load shedding like South Africa seeing Namibia gets some of its power from there.”
Last year, in his Sona Geingob lauded that he had done his part in the genocide settlement negotiations with Germany.
Geingob had questioned why the government is being treated like it committed genocide.
On this, Kakujaha concluded it is an open chapter.