Government prioritizing pressing issues over benefits and salary increments: Simataa

Secretary to Cabinet George Simataa said, government's priority is to reduce youth unemployment with over 6000 unemployed graduates, attend to the plight of 12 000 tertiary students in need of financial assistance and drought problems.

Simataa said this on Thursday in a media statement, responding to the status of negotiation between government and Namibia Public Workers Union and Namibia National Teachers Union on salary and benefits increment proposed by the unions recently.

He said government is committed towards maintaining the good relations built with the trade unions over the years, but they have to understand that due the economic situation which has been under recession since 2016/2017 and it is struggling to grow, public servants should not expect any salary or benefit increment.

He said that, government is also trying to reduce the public service wage bill which stands at over N.dollars 30 billion of the total government budget of N.dollars 66.5 billion, which constitutes a ratio of 45 per cent for 109 000 public service staff members.

The most worrying factor is that it deprives other citizens of an equal share of the national income, during our meetings, we stressed the fact that the situation of a small group of people taking up close to half of the national cake than the larger population cannot be sustainable, said Simataa.

He added that during the meetings, government negotiating team emphasized on problems that continue to be caused by the persistent drought thus it will not be responsible and fair for government to grant salary and benefits increment to those who are already having an income without considering the rest of the citizens.

Government wants to reduce youth unemployment, currently there are over 6000 graduates seeking employments, attending to the plight of over 12 000 tertiary institutions' students with no study funding due to lack of funds at NSFAF, said Simatta.

He added that government is also focusing on creating employment opportunities for health professionals while also finding a solution to addressing the lack of text books, classrooms and other teaching facilities.

Source: Namibia Press Agency