President Hage Geingob and his administration have been commended by a local economics lecturer for the Harambee Prosperity Plan’s (HPP) overall goals and outcomes execution rate of 70%. Geingob introduced the HPP as a targeted action plan to accelerate Namibian development in clearly defined priority areas, which he said laid the basis for attaining prosperity in the country. Introduced during the 2016/17 financial year, HPP was not meant to replace, but rather to complement long-term goals such as the National Development Plans (NDPs) and Vision 2030. “The HPP targeted to achieve 80% and so far, managed to achieve 70% of the objectives, which is commendable given the economic hardships that all countries, including Namibia, have been going through. I think Namibia is going in the right direction given that the government was faced with various independent intervening variables but still managed to deliver 70% of the key deliverables under HPP with lesser financial implications,” commented Lameck Odada, an accounting, economics and finance lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST).
During last week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), Geingob said: “The burning desire to overcome the limitations that confine our people to poverty, inequality and undignified life, compelled us to formulate the Harambee Prosperity Plan, as a tool to fast-track development and draw us closer to the attainment of our National Development Plans and Vision 2030. The four-year impact plan was formulated following countrywide grassroots consultations, popularly known as Town Hall Meetings. This ‘bottom up’ approach to planning informed our development priorities.”
Geingob added that he was finalising a second action plan, Harambee Prosperity Plan II, which he expects to provide a roadmap for accelerated implementation of government programmes specifically geared towards economic recovery. Geingob revealed that HPP II will focus on regaining fiscal stability, structural economic reforms, public sector reforms and improving productivity. Further commenting on the SONA, Odada suggested that Namibia should address the issue of youth unemployment to stimulate economic growth. “The government should continue to cut the high public expenditure and at the same time improve on ease of doing business to attract more investors. The government should revise its priority sectors and place agriculture as the number one sector. This will increase local production and also create more employment in the country,” said Odada.
The economics lecturer added that while the tangible evidence of fiscal consolidation may not always be visible, the general idea of this policy approach will work. “We have seen the restructuring of the government, halting of vehicle fleet for the ministers and just a caution in general from the President regarding wasteful expenditure,” Odada stated.
The NUST lecturer also opined on the relatively low rate of meaningful investment into productive sectors. Said Odada: “One of the major issues has been the low rate of response from ministers when it comes to decision making. There should be some urgency in giving feedback about investment opportunities in Namibia in general. One of the things that I would suggest is marketing investment opportunities locally and abroad and also support to the local investors from the likes of the Development Bank of Namibia and Agricultural Bank to assist local investors.” Odada concluded that one of the major problems of the Covid-19 pandemic will be to reverse the gains Namibia has achieved over a time, such as progress on alleviating poverty and inequality.
“The government should reassess its priority sectors and more attention should be given to agriculture. The tourism, transport and logistics as well as education sectors will really need the government support in the fight against Covid-19. The support for small business will be crucial and more if the government can intervene on the issues of retrenchments and salary cuts, that too will save some jobs and eventually reduce unemployment,” Odada stated.
2020-06-09 09:50:38 | 3 months ago