Helvy Shaanika Oshikango-The Angolan government will finish paying the outstanding money it owes the Namibian government in a currency conversion deal that formerly existed between the two countries. While addressing the community of Helao Nafidi at the official opening of Oshikango Open Market, President Hage Geingob said the Angolan government has been paying back the money its owes Namibia, and is expected to settle the full amount by next year. “Angola has been keeping their end of the bargain; they have been paying us in US dollars, despite the difficult financial situation Angola and every other country is facing they will finish paying next year,” Geingob said. Banco Nacional de Angola initially owed the Bank of Namibia US$390 million in repurchase costs for Kwanzas that came into Namibia since the two central banks entered into an agreement in June 2015. The agreement paved way for the Kwanza exchange at Namibian banks but the Kwanza deal was however short-lived, as it was halted six months after the deal was signed. This was due to alleged irregularities at the Oshikango border post and heavy criticism by local economists and businesspeople, who argued that the deal had effectively driven Namibia’s economy into a liquidity crisis within the first five months of its implementation. Banco Nacional de Angola has since been struggling to settle its dues. There has been an outcry ever since, with member of the public in Namibia demanding that Angola pay back Namibia’s money. “The business community has been saying that they [Angolans] are robbing us. Let me make it clear that they are paying us,” Geingob explained. Furthermore, he applauded the town council of Helao Nafidi and its leadership for constructing a complex that will hopefully fuel business in Helao Nafidi for years to come. “You are contributing to our objective of sustained economic development. Scholars of economics have presented the argument that entrepreneurship and business are the key drivers, not only of economic development, but also catalysts for the reduction of poverty,” the president said. He added that entrepreneurs in Helao Nafidi and surrounding areas have waited patiently for trading facilities, where they can freely display and sell their products in a conducive environment that offers shade and is safe and clean. It was thus pleasing to see that the town is promoting a business-friendly environment, because entrepreneurship and business are pathways out of poverty, he noted. Under Pillar Four of the Harambee Prosperity Plan (Economic Advancement), it is explicitly stated that, ‘the [Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development] MITSMED will continue to invest in the construction of public infrastructure and public services, that are relevant for enhancing the international competitiveness of the targeted sectors and industries’. In this regard, more SME and industrial parks will be constructed countrywide,” Geingob said. He encouraged Helao Nafidi Town Council to continue striving to ensure the socio-economic and developmental aspirations of its residents remain a priority. He further urged both the leadership and the community to safeguard the new facility, so that it can serve them for years to come. “This is your facility. Own it with pride. Let us look after our country and its infrastructure and shun the retrogressive practices of vandalism and neglect,” he said. President Geingob further encouraged vendors and traders that were fortunate to be relocating from informal trading areas to stalls at the open market to “Harambee together for more business, more sales and a better future for all,” and to make the new open market a hub for local economic growth and prosperity.
2017-11-20 09:41:04 10 months ago