Activities in the domestic construction sector significantly declined due to heavy budgetary cuts and the overall negative impact of Covid-19 pandemic, as both government and private construction work weakened considerably in light of subdued economic activity.
Presidential advisor for youth matters Daisry Mathias last week said government recognised some of the sectors that encountered the hardest knock of the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions that has ultimately affected livelihoods and financial security of Namibian households.
In turn, Mathias’ office created a stimulus package through projects that targeted the sectors that were heavily affected, specifically pointing out the construction sector.
“We have two projects in supporting young citizens in the construction sector, where government has issued an exemption for preferential procurement by the ministry of finance to unemployed artisans, giving them access to government projects,” Mathias explained. She added that through this initiative, which has been running since November 2020, they were able to create 75 jobs in Windhoek.
Mathias said her office is in the process of taking the project to other parts of the country so that regional councils can extend the same opportunities to artisans in their respected regions.
Meanwhile, Bank of Namibia (BoN), in its recent quarterly bulletin, stated that activities in the construction sector declined, year-on-year, during the first quarter of 2021, driven by lower construction works in both the government and private sector.
The government spending, earmarked for public construction programmes, decreased in real terms by 15.8% and 20.2%, year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter, respectively, to N$534.7 million.
The decline partly reflects the corresponding lower budgetary provisions for construction projects in the 2020/21 fiscal year.
This was partly due to further scaling down of the government expenditure on construction and related activities, guided by fiscal consolidation programme, in addition to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, the youth advisor noted that sports in Namibia has also suffered significantly in the midst of the pandemic. “We are in the process of engaging investors in Europe, who are interested to come and make a contribution to infrastructure development and talent management,” added Mathias.
She said negotiations are not yet mature but assured these will make a significant impact on sport in the country.
According to Mathias, at the Covid-19 briefing last week, the business task force recently appointed by President Geingob is tasked to look at the losses forcing businesses to close off and putting jobs at risk. - email@example.com