Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Increasing employment - a government dilemma

The role of the Government in the developed world is to balance the creation of jobs against the expectations of the employees. The private sector is encouraged through various means to invest and create employment opportunities.

However, the labour force, through its Unions, have become so powerful, they often influence decision-making that is detrimental to job creation. Bluntly put, an investor puts their money where they get the best return. If labour costs are too high, they go elsewhere.

The Namibian Government has used a relaxation of the existing labour laws in its efforts to promote investment. The EPZ Act for example outlaws certain employee actions.

This has not worked.

Rather the government should work to streamline the hiring and firing processes across the board to allow flexibility for investors. It should rather provide incentives to employers who train and develop their existing workforce. For example, the Government could suggest a 1% of turnover be spent of computer literacy of all levels of employees over a three period. Those employers, who can document through proof of International Computer Drivers Licences, will receive a tax rebate of 5% for the five years thereafter.

Too much attention is put on preventive measure in our present labour laws. We should work together to create reactive measures which will encourage better cooperation throughout the work environment.