Economic situation a reason to rethink Namibia’s developmental path – Geingob
WINDHOEK – Namibia’s current economic situation has compelled its leaders to rethink the country’s developmental path, which has had a disproportionate reliance on government expenditure. This was part of the message by President Hage Geingob at yesterday’s opening of the 2019 Economic Growth Summit, which is taking place under the theme ‘Economic revival for inclusive growth – Strengthening the Namibian House’.
During his keynote address, Geingob cautioned that the current approach cannot be sustainable in the long run, and therefore emphasised the need to buttress ongoing reforms, ensure a more conducive business environment and reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks.
“Fiscal reforms will continue so that funds are allocated to priority areas, with high impact on economic and social development, while directing resources to capital projects with a high rate of return. Equally so, we recognise that a robust and growing economy, one creating decent and gainful employment, is a prerequisite for the mid-to-long term growth of the private sector,” said Geingob to a packed house consisting of local and foreign investors as well as high-ranking government officials.
Geingob said that to revive the domestic economy, which has suffered through two years of negative growth, in a sustainable manner the public sector including public enterprises, private sector, civil society, trade unions and development partners all have to play their part. Specifically, he pointed out that the private sector, as the engine for economic growth, should subscribe to the common agenda for inclusive growth and shared prosperity.
“As government we are prepared to play our part and meet all stakeholders halfway. This is why we undertook a policy of fiscal consolidation, the deepest since Independence, for the purpose of preserving macroeconomic stability through the reduction of non-essential public expenditure. We are however aware that fiscal consolidation alone will not lead to sustained economic growth, job creation and poverty eradication,” Geingob stated.
The President further mentioned that as part of enhancing the ease of doing business, several reforms have been undertaken to position the country’s visa processes more competitively.
In this vein, Namibia has exempted diplomatic and official passport holders from 53 African countries from visa requirements, so as to bolster intra-African mobility, state-to-state engagement and investment. He emphasised that with the adoption of the Continental Free Trade Area Agreement, the free movement of people and goods within Africa has become ever more imperative.
“We are at a critical point in our history and this summit is our opportunity to shape our collective destiny. Fate has provided us with opportunities but it is the decisions we take that determine the outcome of our future. We are in full control of our choices and our actions. But the decisions at this summit have the potential to become harbingers of growth and opportunity,” Geingob noted.
During the opening session of the two-day summit, chairperson of the President’s high-level panel on the economy, Johannes !Gawaxab, said the overall aim of the summit is to revive the domestic economy. While admitting that the time is ripe for the structure of the economy to change, !Gawaxab was adamant that Namibia’s long-term economic potential remains intact. Adding that there is an urgent need to create employment, particularly through public-private partnerships, !Gawaxab remained confident that a number of significant investment announcements could be expected during the remainder of the summit.
2019-08-01 07:16:53 24 days ago