One must appreciate without any bias that benefits for the youth in this year’s budget are not glued to the allocations on the youth ministry budget vote, but it is cut across several ministries, deputy minister of works Veikko Nekundi said last week.
Nekundi said when one holistically and open-mindedly digests the budget without any political agenda, one ought to agree that indeed the budget is “highly pro-youth”.
Thus, he said, the proposition that youth are indeed the lifeline of the country’s economy resonates with the budget focus.
Nekundi said this on Thursday while contributing to the budget debate currently underway in parliament.
He said the budget allocations to the ministry of higher education for the infrastructure expansion at the country’s vocational training centres (VTCs) and the development of services to establish VTCs at Nkurenkuru and Keetmanshoop are undoubtedly a pure youth-focused expenditure
“The budget allocation to the ministry of youth, the entire budget allocation to both the ministry of education and ministry of higher education – the beneficiaries are the youth in totality,” he said.
“You cannot come here swimming under political hallucinations because criticising is your tool to garner votes,” he stressed.
He further addressed the budget deficit, saying it is embarrassing to hear people talking about loans, budget deficits and the debt-to-GDP ratio when they have no understanding of economics or the financial market architecture – to the point where they mix up the issues of the financial and economic crises with the fiscal crisis, resulting in an unbalanced crisis.
“Without first having an appreciation of our financial market architecture and our strategy to manage our loan portfolio risk, you will continue coming here, making statements and asking questions just for political expediency and nothing else,” he told fellow lawmakers.
He explained that while the country’s loans and debt-to-GDP ratio are high, there is no need to be alarmed since the country’s financial system is and remains solid.
“Our financial market architecture provides greater space to manage the associated risks. The greater loan value is domestic, while still under the crisis, we have not defaulted on any of our obligations, and there exists no such indication,” he said.
“Just in November last year, we fully settled the N$7.5 billion Eurobond, which represented 23% of the total foreign debt. During the last quarter of last year, we recorded a positive economic recovery – and it is expected to continue in the same trajectory this year,” he explained.
Also, he said the global demand for the country’s commodities has resurrected with improved commodity prices, coupled with the recent commissioning of the diamond vessel.
“Many, if not all countries, have opened their territories for air travel; therefore, we should expect the recovery of our tourism industry, which is one of our largest employers and contributor to our GDP,” Nekundi said.
He further reiterated this is a clear indication that we have no reason to unnecessarily press the panic button.
Nekundi added the nation must guard against demands that propel the meltdown of the country’s economy.
“Unless there are those that instigate the populace to demand more in order to compromise our fiscal abilities, collapse our economy and achieve their political agenda of placing our country back in the hands of the western forces,” he
He also used the opportunity to urge finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi to ensure the country’s borrowing activities continue to be undertaken within a risk tolerance framework to avert any financial ability meltdown.