The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations, and Employment Creation said one of the mandates of his ministry is to ensure that workers are paid a living wage to maintain a decent living standard.

Utoni Nujoma said this at the Cabinet Committee briefing at the Government Information Centre in Windhoek, where he highlighted some of the important activities the ministry has been engaged in.

The ministry will continue to promote the welfare of the people by adopting policies and ensuring the implementation of the principle of non-discrimination in the remuneration of workers in their workplaces.

Nujoma said the ministry has adapted to the Social Justice Framework under the United Nations Global Accelerator and Social Protection for Just Transition.

"Through the GA, Namibia is currently developing an ambitious roadmap to identify, introduce, and fund major programmes over a four- to five-year period that will have a significant and measurable impact on reducing youth unemployment and expanding social protection. The full programme implementation is expected to be launched by September 2024, but Namibia has already begun by accelerating and building on several existing programmes."

Nujoma said among those programmes, the national minimum wage of 18 dollars per hour is proposed, and plans are to conclude the necessary consultative and Cabinet processes by the first quarter of next year.

"This proposal is the product of extensive tripartite consultation. We plan to conclude the necessary consultative and cabinet processes in order to introduce the national minimum wage by the first quarter of next year. I note that the minimum wage is not a substitute for collective bargaining. It will benefit low-paid workers, particularly the unorganized. The wages and benefits that the unions can negotiate for their members are expected to exceed these minimums."

Nujoma said there is new legislation that the tri-partite committee is working on for the first comprehensive occupational safety and health bill, as well as designing a national unemployment insurance fund.

These projects are part of the Global Accelerator programme.

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Hendrina Kanyolo