Kuzeeko Tjitemisa WINDHOEK- In the wake of worrisome job losses in the mining, fishing, retail and other sectors, government has put in place strategies to stimulate economic growth and to create jobs. Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila told New Era last week that government has set aside over N$ 7 billion for development interventions to support these strategic policies. She said the N$7 billion represents an increase of 30 percent compared to the amount that was set aside as one of the intervention measures last year. According to her, an additional N$4 billion is to be sourced from the African Development Bank ((AfDB) to complement internal resources towards development projects, mainly infrastructure. “Minerals are finite resources which over time, get depleted,” said the Prime Minister, adding that with the mining sector playing a significant role in the country’s economy, government has initiated deliberate policy interventions. She said government policy is to diversify the economy in order to reduce the country’s reliance on mining and to mitigate the economy’s vulnerability to shocks from commodity markets, including the mineral products markets. It terms of these strategies, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said government is prioritising funding support to industrialisation activities, infrastructure development, agricultural development, land reform, tourism development and skills development. “These projects will create employment opportunities both during and after construction phase through increased investment, improved business productivity and higher economic growth,” she explained. She said the newly enacted Public Private Partnership (PPP) law will also enable the country to crowd in private investment and harness private sector capacity towards public infrastructure development and service delivery, all of which will create additional opportunities for employment. Also, she said the new Public Procurement Act creates a new avenue for local enterprise development and market access for local products, all of which will have positive spin off for employment creation. Similarly, she said government has also put in place an Equipment Aid Scheme to assist business start-up and facilitate operational efficiency of SME to create sustainable employment and increase output. She said through this scheme 4500 jobs were created. Over past financial year, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said DBN investments amounted to N$2.4 billion of which 71 percent or N$1.72 billion went towards private sector development and infrastructure projects. She said about N$525 million of this was earmarked for business ventures for the previously disadvantaged Namibians, N$209 million for youth-owned enterprises and N$107 million for women owned projects. According to her, these investments created an estimated 1400 permanent and 2500 temporary jobs directly. Likewise, she said a new SME financing strategy and youth entrepreneurship, comprising of the Venture Capital Fund, Credit Guarantee Scheme, Training and Mentorship program, has been adopted. The Prime Minister says the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP), provides for 121 youth enterprises to be created around the country to boost employment creation and SME driven economic growth for the youth by the youth. “To come back to the mining sector, improved commodity prices are also expected to boost the sector’s performance and with that opportunities for employment and exports earnings,” she said. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says as part of efforts to improve beneficiation from mineral products, government policy for the sector is seeking to promote value addition to mineral products and strengthen tax compliance enforcement, to optimise revenue collection and improve government financial capacity to strengthen its interventions in other areas of the economy, create jobs and tackle poverty. “The government is also working to ensure that the traditional mining areas in the country are supported to explore and develop the potential for other economic activities which can offer employment opportunities, including those who may be retrenched from current mining projects,” she added.
New Era Reporter
2018-07-30 09:13:29 3 months ago