10 NEWS Tuesday, November 21 2017 | NEW ERA People with disabilities should serve on boards – Manombe-Ncube Albertina Nakale Windhoek Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice P r e s i d e n c y f o r Disability Affairs Alexia Manombe-Ncube wants organisations of people living with disabilities to be consulted when standards and norms for accessibility are being developed. There were 29,505 people living with disabilities in urban areas compared to 68,908 people with disabilities in rural areas, according to the 2011 Disability Report. She said they should also be involved from the initial planning stage when public construction projects are being designed to ensure maximum accessibility for people with disabilities. She made the remarks when she contributed to the Urban and Regional Planning Bill in the National Assembly last week. She noted that people living with disabilities are confronted by all sort of barriers, such as the lack of physical environmental access to roads, housing, buildings, more so public buildings, spaces and lack of access to basic services, such as sanitation and portable water. “Many a times when confronted with limited access to physical environment for people w i t h d i s a b i l i t i e s , authorities’ position is that the fault was in the planning and design stages and that there is Alexia Manombe-Ncube not much that can be done; and if anything should be done, the cost Further, she said she had personally experienced situations in which the solution offered was to carry Therefore, she said, the bill could not have come at a better time, saying it was vital to plan for disability inclusion from the outset. She said more effective and better value for money is ensured when planning from the outset for physical environmental access for people with disabilities, compared to (making adjustments to existing buildings to accommodate all citizens). She motivated that there was a need to initiate measures to remove the obstacles to participation in the physical environment. The measures, she said, include the development of standards and guidelines and enacting legislation to ensure safe access to housing, public buildings and public transport services, as well as other means o f t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , streets and outdoor environments. Therefore, she explained the proposed decentralisation of planning powers was a crucial milestone in ensuring that indeed no one is left behind and a huge opportunity for decision makers, planners and communities to redress past imbalances in respect of access to land, land ownership and land allocation. She highlighted that it was an unfortunate reality that people with disabilities experience higher rates of poverty and are more vulnerable to food insecurity, poor housing, lack of access to land, lack of access to safe water and sanitation, inadequate access to health care, and own fewer assets. Moreover, she said spatial planning refers to methods and approaches used by public and private distribution of people and activities in spaces in various scale. This involves land use, urban, regional, transport, e n v i r o n m e n t a l , e c o n o m i c a n d community planning. She said the Urban and Regional Planning Bill is informed by economic and social plans and its objectives are well aligned to redress past injustices. “Therefore, we in the disability sector welcome it and trust that our contributions are considered for the process of redressing remarked. Woman arrested for murder of boyfriend at Outjo OTJIWARONGO A 27-year-old woman was arrested Sunday night in connection with the murder of her boyfriend, who she allegedly stabbed three times at Outjo the same night. Spokesperson of the Namibian Police Force (NamPol) in the Maureen Mbeha on Monday told as Kivi Katjirumbu. His next of kin have been informed of his death. Katjirumbu was allegedly stabbed with an Okapi knife by his girlfriend on the right side of his neck, the left side of the chest and on the upper part of his left shoulder. The incident happened at about 23h00 near a bar close to the deceased’s residence in Camp Five informal settlement. The man died at his residence after he had walked a few metres from where the incident took place, said Mbeha. It is suspected the couple had quarrelled before the stabbing incident, although the cause of the disagreement remains as yet unknown to the police. The woman was arrested immediately after the incident and is expected to appear in the Outjo Magistrate’s Court this week. Police investigations continue. – Nampa The Weekend DISCOUNTER To advertise into the Weekend Discounter, talk to me and I will offer you the lowest competitive price. New Era will OFFER the client with the exact discount the client offers to their customers. For products such as, “you buy 1 and get 1 free”, New Era will OFFER you 50% discount on advertising rates Bernadette Nyambe Sales & Marketing Executive Contact me: Tel: +264 61 208 0318 Email: email@example.com
NEW ERA Live within your means during festive season Page 12 Euro sinks in Asia amidst German uncertainty Page 13 INSIDE BUSINESS This news is your business CIF and Manwu agree on wage increases Staff Reporter Windhoek Finance Minister, Calle Schlett- terHouseCoopers (PWC) Namibia on Friday last week. PWC’s Ansie Rossouw, PWC’s Partner in charge of the Walvis Bay of- event, which was preceded by a mid-term budget review discussion that was well attended by key businesses personalities. PWC’s modate 60 staff members. At the same occasion, PWC launched its Business School, which will continue to provide training on tax, accounting as well as other short business courses. Photo: Contributed The planned increase in the minimum wage payable in the construction industry will amount to 5.6 percent for selected job categories. Photo: Contributed The Construction Industries Federation of Namibia (CIF) and the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) have signed a new collective agreement on wages. The agreement includes the planned increase in minimum wage payable in the industry, which will be 5.6 percent for selected job categories in the construction sector. At this stage it is not clear when the increase on the minimum wage payable will become effective. CIF has requested the Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina, to promulgate the extension of the collective agreement in order to implement the increase of the new minimum wage and the minimum employment conditions that will apply to the entire construction sector. Because the collective agreement becomes effective on the date of promulgation, the date when the increase of minimum wages becomes payable, is not set yet. The duration of the process; i.e. from the signing of the collective agreement to the date of promulgation normally takes some time. However, the parties to the agreement anticipate that the increase in the minimum wage payable will come into force Until that time, the currently gazetted minimum wage payable and minimum employment conditions as per Government Notice No.319 published in Government Gazette No. 5917 of 31 December 2015 will remain applicable; that means a minimum wage of 16.04 per hour. However, with an agreed future increase of 5.6 percent on minimum wage payable the CIF and Manwu resolved the deadlock in negotiations. The CIF, representing employers in the construction sector, was not in a position to agree to the demands of the union. It took the position that the entire sector would be affected if subjected to an unreasonably high increase in the minimum wage. Manwu’s original demand was for an increase of 15 percent in the minimum wage. Moreover, the CIF said additional demands for minimum employment conditions meant that the overall demand constituted an increase of over 70 percent. The construction sector had been hit severely by the economic downturn and since September 2016, has seen large-scale retrenchment in the entire supply chain; close to 47 percent of employees in the industry have lost their jobs. The CIF maintained the position that instead of hiking up the increase of only a few remaining employees that one needed to make every effort to keep as many persons employed as possible. A drastic increase would have meant that construction companies would have needed to retrench even more employees, as they would not have been in the position to afford the increase. After engaging its members, the members provided the CIF with a revised mandate. This provided the CIF the scope to increase their offer. Taking into consideration the current economic climate, both parties to the negotiations felt it was important to reach an agreement in order to avoid industrial action; i.e. either a strike or indeed a lockout by the employers. Thus they reached an agreement regarding a future increase of 5.6 percent minimum wage payable. The terms of the agreement, which comes into effect only after promulgation of the collective agreement, covers a one-year period; i.e. 2018/2019. Bärbel Kirchner, consulting general manager of the CIF said: ”It is known how badly the construction sector was hit over the last 12 months. Many businesses in our industry needed to make large-scale retrenchments. “A large part of our industry has come to a standstill. Some businesses either faced bankruptcy, some are dormant and others closed down. Yet, nancially strong enough, kept their teams employed with the hope of work and projects in the near future. “We are aware that an increase of minimum wage payable unfortunately still means that more persons will be retrenched if there is not an immediate upturn. “However, we are hopeful and optimistic that government’s commitment to pay outstanding invoices will increase t also that Government’s announcement of a Construction Fund with the Namibia Development Bank will indeed materialise,” Kirchner added. lowest since 2015 Staff Reporter Windhoek The most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) for October 2017 released by the Namibia Statistics rate for October 2017 dropped again after an increase last month. rate for October 2017 compared to October 2016 decreased to 5.2 percent, which is the lowest December 2015 when it stood at 3.7 percent. The monthly inflation rate, October 2017 compared to September 2017, dropped back to 0.1 percent after an increase to 0.4 percent in September 2017. During five of the ten months this year the 0.1 percent. Annual price increases decelerated for both services (down from 8.4 percent in September to 8.0 percent in October) and goods (down from 3.6 percent to 3.1 percent). Commenting on the latest figures the Executive Director of the Economic Association of Namibia, Klaus Schade, said that price increases for services clearly remained the main driver for 3.2 percentage points percent. The category of ‘housing, water, electricity, etc.’ again recorded of the main twelve categories although price increases slowed down from 8.9 percent in September to 8.6 percent in October. It is the second housing this year after 8.3 percent in August. “The costs of maintenance on dwellings continue to increase at a slower pace, which could be attributed to the contraction in the construction and related industries. Prices for maintenance rose by 4.7 percent in October – the lowest since January 2014 (4.4 percent) – compared to 5.9 percent in September 2017,” Schade noted. Meanwhile, prices for water supply grew by only 7.2 percent in October compared to most of the past two years, while price increases for electricity tuations over the past few months and slowed to 4.1 percent in October. At the other end of the scale, prices for clothing and footwear dropped by 5.0 percent compared to October 2016 implying that these items were less expensive in October this year than October 2016. Similarly, costs for communication services were also lower in October 2017 compared to the same month last year. They dropped by 0.3 percent. “The consumer also Prices for food items increased by 3.7 percent in October compared to 4.2 percent in September 2017 and 11.9 percent in October 2016. “Bread and cereals are again less expensive than a year ago declining by 2.7 percent, while fruit (1.6 percent) and vegetable (2.1 percent) prices increased below average. “Meat prices, however, remain under pressure increasing by 9.2 percent after an increase of 9.4 in September 2017 and 5.3 percent in October 2016. Strong price rises for meat can be explained by better grazing conditions and strong exports that compete with local demand,” Schade explained. In addition, costs for transport rose stronger in October (4.4 percent) than in September 2017 (3.9 percent), because of increased prices for new vehicles (up by 6.5 percent compared to 3.9 percent in September). Prices for alcoholic beverages and tobacco also rose stronger than in previous months. Prices were 5.7 percent higher in October 2017 than in October 2016. “Overall, the current supports our view that this year’s annual inflation rate will remain below of 6.7 percent.