Social Security for vendors
Following calls by the Social Security Commission CEO, Kenandai Tjivikua to reform the Social Security Act, independent researcher Herbert Jauch commented on the proposed reformation and shared his sentiments with the Economist. Jauch said, “The CEO is correct in pointing out that the informal economy needs to be covered by social security as well. Although Namibia’s informal economy is not as large as that of most other African countries, there is an increasing trend toward informality as the formal sector of the economy does not create the required number of jobs to accommodate the unemployed, especially young people and women.
Therefore if the SSC Act needs to be amended to better care for the informal economy workers then it should be done.” “There are several key interventions that need to be made. The first is to get a comprehensive picture of the informal economy in Namibia. How many people are working there? Under what conditions? And where are they geographically located? Based on this information informal economy workers then need to be targeted for registration with the Social Security Commission. The schemes on offer must however relate to their social reality, that is, the contributions required must be affordable for informal economy workers and the benefits must be attractive enough for them to join the scheme. This will be essential for any success of the scheme. Given the often irregular incomes in the informal economy, a comprehensive social protection as mentioned by the CEO should consider the introduction of a universal basic income grant as a supplementary measure,” Jauch said. “The Act needs to be amended so that it covers all working people in Namibia. A challenge will be to balance the contributions and benefits as many working people earn very low incomes and thus face severe limitations in terms of their ability to contribute. This challenge cannot be addressed in the Act alone but requires a particular strategy and policy approach which must include redistributive measures so that the wealthy subsidise the poor. Otherwise it will be virtually impossible to achieve social protection for all,” he said.