President Hage Geingob has outlined a number of measures, including structural reforms to help boost economic growth and create much-needed jobs as the country looks to recover from the economic fallout of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. The local economy suffered a deep contraction of 7.3% last year, leading to job losses and economic insecurity.
In his State of the Nation Address yesterday, Geingob said the second instalment of the Harambee Prosperity Plan provides the basis for a comprehensive programme of initiatives through which economic recovery can be executed.
Geingob said his administration will push through a number of reforms, including using the public-private partnership framework of 2017 as a key instrument to unlock projects worth N$27 billion, with the potential to create 42 000 jobs.
“With the sectors of agriculture, tourism and construction hard hit by the preceding drought and the Covid-19 pandemic, we must pursue opportunities to foster new engines of growth,” said Geingob.
“The world is determined to recover from this economic crisis with a renewed focus on building back better on a safer planet. Namibia is uniquely endowed to attract significant investment in the green and blue economy, naturally driven by our marine and renewable energy resources.”
The President also revealed the country has received six written offers from international investors and local companies for the prospective development of green hydrogen and ammonia.
“I am pleased to share that the possible capital expected to be deployed into these projects ranges from N$32 billion to N$150 billion with the possible number of jobs to be created through the development and operational cycles exceeding 20 000. This is an opportunity that we should all grab with both hands and explore to its full potential. To expedite these opportunities, I will constitute the Green Hydrogen Council, which will report, on a regular basis, progress made towards our goal of reaching a final investment decision within my Presidency,” he said.
Government is also pinning its hopes on the newly-established and Nangula Uaandja-led Namibian Investment Promotion and Development Board to attract investments.
“This agency has been hard at work since January 2021 and has already compiled a portfolio of more than 100 investment projects. The top 15 projects with combined value in excess of N$45 billion were presented last week to a joint sitting of the Cabinet Committee on Treasury, and Trade and Economic Development. The board is mandated to attract more than N$50 billion in investments in the next five years.”
Meanwhile, Geingob also announced his administration will establish a Business Rescue Task Force with a view to create jobs by, among others, reviewing the country’s insolvency legislation to help mitigate the number of firms facing liquidation during these difficult times.
The task force, which will be commissioned during May 2021, is expected to complete its mandate by end of October 2021.
“To further strengthen employment creation, work has commenced to consolidate the plethora of funding instruments currently under the SME Financing Strategy at the Development Bank of Namibia into a National MSME Fund that will deliver blended financing to entrepreneurial start-ups and SMEs,” he said.
“The 4th Industrial Revolution has ushered in new and disruptive technologies which present an opportunity to unlock efficiencies and development. In coming weeks, a 4th Industrial Revolution Task Force, comprising figures drawn from academia, labour, industry and technologies, to conduct a 4IR country assessment and ascertain the readiness of Namibia’s labour force and related infrastructures to exploit and harness the full potential presented by these technologies and the Future of Work.”