During his State of the Nation (SONA) speech in the National Assembly chamber on 17 April 2019, President Hage Geingob made the following statements:
“According to the Namibia Statistics Agency, a total of fourty-eight-thousand-eight-hundred-and-fifty-seven (48,857) new jobs were created nationally in 2018, with the greatest contribution coming from the Agricultural sector, which saw modest recovery during the 2017 rainy season. Regrettably, the recurring drought threatens to reverse these gains.”
The “new jobs” figure appears on page 18 of the Namibia Statistics Agency’s latest Namibia Labour Force Survey (NLFS) 2018 report, which states:
“The employed population increased by 48,857 persons since the last survey was conducted in 2016, while unemployment based on the broad definition decreased by 0.6 percentage points.”
The two claims, clearly taken from the NLFS 2018 report, contained in the President’s statements are:
- 48,857 new jobs were created nationally in 2018;
- Agriculture contributing most of the new jobs.
What we found was:
- As per the NLFS 2018 report quote, the 48,857 new jobs were created over a two-year period – between the surveys of 2016 and 2018;
- According to the NLFS 2018, agriculture came in second as contributing “new jobs” between 2016 and 2018. In first place in the creation of new jobs over the period was the Accommodation and food service activities sector.
However, a question mark hangs over the “new jobs” figure. This is because the Employment Equity Commission (EEC) reported in June 2019 that close to 37,000 people lost their jobs in 2017/18.
Despite the misleading use of the central figure and misquoting the NLFS 2018, the President’s statements were mostly true.
The president’s reference to the figures appears on page 24 of the 2019 State of the Nation speech, which can be accessed at the following link: http://188.8.131.52/documents/84084/826266/PresidentGeingobStateOfTheNationAddress2019.pdf/f34dfeb4-7f92-47b1-9c4f-05fe8bba028a?version=1.0
The Namibia Labour Force Survey (NLFS) 2018 report can be accessed at the following link: https://d3rp5jatom3eyn.cloudfront.net/cms/assets/documents/NLFS_2018_Report_Final_.pdf