• July 14th, 2020

Action needed to minimise local economic impact of coronavirus

Maihapa Ndjavera

Given the current world events and the WHO declaring the Covid-19 outbreak a pandemic, local economists are sharing their views and the expected impact of the Covid-19 on domestic, regional and global markets.
Speaking to New Era’s Inside Business, Omu Kakujaha, a senior economist and lecturer at Unam, says the government has run out of fiscal space, as it was still dealing with the effects of the prolonged depression the country was suffering from before the spread of the Covid-19. One of the suggestions Kakujaha made was for government to reduce the tax rate to businesses to cushion them from the adverse effects of the pandemic.
“Implement viable capital projects in agriculture and other sectors that could create direct and indirect employment. Cut all non-essential spending to the bone and divert funds to activities that will keep small-medium enterprises and bigger businesses operating,” highlighted Kakujaha.

He added that there is a need for the government to accelerate the implementation of earmarked programs without delay. He also proposed restructuring the public sector by incorporating most of the non-commercial state-owned enterprises into ministries to become department and directorates. This, he said, would reduce job losses and absorb employees, albeit with reduced wage packages.
Meanwhile, the tourism sector, which has been hardest hit thus far, as bookings have been cancelled and no new bookings are being made, has been asked to remain optimistic in the face of the pandemic. 

“This is the situation and we’re already feeling the impact. We are a small economy and we have small businesses that depend on a day-to-day income; if there is no income, it could lead to job losses. That makes us more pessimistic, but let’s remain optimistic,” said environment and tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta during a recent media engagement. 

Meanwhile, Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) has updated its cancellation policy to speak to the changing environment as some clients continue to amend or cancel their bookings. 

“The measures put in place by the Head of State requires us to safeguard our staff and guests. Therefore, as NWR, we have been sensitising our employees at the resorts to ensure we continue adhering to our strict hygiene levels. At the centre of our business is the wellbeing of our staff and guests,” said Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, NWR acting managing director. 

“As a company, we are cognisant that the Covid-19 is going to have a direct impact on our business in the coming months. It is for this reason that we have decided to extend our independence discount of 70% to April 2020 as well. We believe that this will present our domestic market an opportunity to visit us if they did not have an opportunity to do so in March. Also, foreign tourists who find themselves confined in Namibia for whatever reasons are free to extend their stay at any of our establishments,” Ngwangwama added. 
-  mndjavera@nepc.com.na

Staff Reporter
2020-03-18 07:35:56 | 3 months ago

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