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Namibian teachers reject latest pay offer and vote for strike

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Namibian teachers have voted for strike action after refusing to accept the government’s five percent salary increase offer.

The teachers are demanding an eight percent salary increase but the government said there is no money this financial year.

Instead, the government said it can only pay the teachers a seven percent increase during the 2017/18 financial year.

Following the stalemate, the Namibia National Teachers Union and the Teachers Union of Namibia declared an unresolved dispute that meant they had to vote and decide whether to strike or not.

The two-week voting process ended Sept. 16 and the results that were released Monday show that 20,000 out of 27,000 teachers cast their votes.

Ninety-Five percent of the 20,000 teachers voted for strike action. No date has been set for the strike action though.



Namibian growth expected to temporarily slow down: IMF

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Growth in Namibia is expected to temporarily slow down in 2016 to 2.5 percent, compared to 5.3 in 2015, as the government starts consolidating and construction activity slows down, according to findings released here Wednesday from the International Monetary Fund team.

The IMF team led by Geremia Polomba was in Namibia on Sept. 8-21, conducting the 2016 Article IV Consultation discussions.

“Risks to this outlook are tilted to the downside and include volatile SACU (Southern African Customs Union) revenue, further commodity price declines and possible sovereign debt credit downgrades,” Poloma said in a statement.

According to him, Namibia’s key challenges going forward are to preserve macroeconomic stability, and make inroads in reducing high unemployment and income inequality.

“The government and the Bank of Namibia have already taken steps to counter declining SACU revenue and rising inflation, however fiscal and external vulnerabilities are rising and additional actions are required,” he said.

Palomba said the performance is expected to accelerate to above 5 percent in 2017 and 2018 as production from new mines ramp up.

Furthermore, Polomba welcomed the Namibian authorities commitment to undertake additional actions to preserve debt sustainability while containing the impact on growth in the context of the upcoming Mid-Year Budget Review Policy Statement.

Meanwhile, he said the financial sector remains sound and the authorities are taking steps to curb possible risks and advance key financial sector reforms.

Polomba said in terms of various fronts to tackle high employment among youth, a well-focused package of structural reforms to address the lack of skilled workers and to simplify business regulations has the potential to boost employment.


Namibia government freezes tenders

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- The government of Namibia instructed all ministries and department Thursday to stop giving out feasibility studies of tenders with immediate effect.

A notice sent to finance permanent secretary Erica Shafudah, who is the tender board chairperson, by the finance minister Calle Schlettwein Thursday said the directive was in line with the budget policy stance for the 2016/17 mid-year budget review.

Schlettwein said that no tenders should be made until such a time that the financial year 2016/17 budget review and the reprioritization of capital projects are finalized.

The notice also said all new tenders for feasibility studies for the capital projects and surveys envisaged under the operational budget should be put on hold.

Schlettwein also said accounting officers should ensure that these directives also apply to new capital projects that are funded under the national budget but fall under the execution mandate of the various public enterprises.

“The above measures are aimed at placing public finances on a sustainable path as government adjusts to a changing macro-fiscal environment,” Schlettwein said.


Former Namibian ruling party fighters demand answers from UN

WINDHOEK Namibia (Xinhua) -- Some former Namibian ruling Swapo Party fighters handed over a petition Monday to the United Nations country representative in Namibia demanding details of money meant for their rehabilitation.

Jean-Pierre Ilboudo, the UNESCO Representative to Namibia, received the petition at the United Nations Plaza in Windhoek.

The former fighters are claiming that the UN did not honor its promise of rehabilitating and resettling them according to resolution 435 of 1978.

Their spokesperson, Tuulimoupyu Kakolonyah, said out of the three promises made by the UN, only one -repatriation - was fulfilled. The other two - rehabilitation and resettlement - are yet to be met.

In which case, Kakolonyah said, the UN must release the money that was meant for the two programs and share it equally among the former fighters.

“We were neither resettled nor rehabilitated by the UN, neither integrated into the society or in the mainstream of the economy,” Kakolonyah said.

The UN was given two weeks to respond to the former fighters’ demands.




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