Industry

Labour ministry develops informal economic policy

Summary

The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation is currently developing an informal economic policy aimed to develop Namibia’s informal economy as a key pillar of the national development strategy.The ministry’s Chief Economist Shi…

The Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation is currently developing an informal economic policy aimed to develop Namibia’s informal economy as a key pillar of the national development strategy.

The ministry’s Chief Economist Shikongeni Ntinda at an informal economic stakeholders workshop here on Tuesday said the policy seeks to address challenges faced by the informal economy, including infrastructure, entrepreneurial development and institutional support.

Ntinda said according to the 2018 Namibia Labour Force Survey, Namibia has a total of 725 742 employed people of which 418 674 are in informal employment, representing 57.7 per cent of total employment in Namibia.

He noted that informal employment offers a necessary survival strategy in countries that lack social safety nets, such as unemployment insurance, noting that since COVID-19 hit Namibia many businesses experienced hard times which resulted in many job losses - making the informal economy a lender as last resort for many.

“There should be a broader discourse on industrialisation, structural change and long-term resilience to the informal economy hence the policy will be a bridging tool between informal and formal economies. We should have an idea, to have an organised informal economy being run in an organised manner,” he said.

Ntinda further noted that the informal economy should be recognised in the country’s economic setup as it is a testbed of entrepreneurship, adding that most informal activities are legitimate efforts by the urban and rural poor to forge a livelihood in often hostile policy environments.

Speaking at the same event, line Minister Utoni Nujoma said the informal economy is difficult to measure because activities within it cannot be directly observed, and for the most part, operators in the informal economy do not want to be accounted for.

He indicated that there is a need for comprehensive intervention for the informal sector through policies to address the informality and promote decent work for all Namibians.

“Addressing informality is essential and urgent to support inclusive economic development and reduce poverty countrywide. The informal economy comprises activities that have market value and would add to tax revenue and GDP if they were recorded in the National Account,” he said.

Source: The Namibian Press Agency