The Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP)’s aim of improving the quality of life of the country’s populace is starting to show results, says President Hage Geingob’s economic advisor, Dr John Steytler.
Steytler says the improvement of the country’s overall governance score as measured by the Mo Ibrahim Governance Index to 71.2 points, from 70.4 points the previous year, is one of the achievements that can be celebrated under the plan.
Reporting on the progress on key Harambee activities and outcomes at State House yesterday, during President Geingob’s year-end media briefing, Steytler said the average score for Sub-Saharan Africa was 50.8 points, placing Namibia’s score 20.4 points above the average.
“Namibia is one of the eighteen countries in Africa that have achieved consistent improvement in governance over the period of a decade, while the pace of improvement in Namibia has accelerated over the last five years,” he said, adding that this demonstrated the country’s resolve to continue improving.
Steytler said another noble achievement under the plan is Namibia retaining its rating as the country with the freest press on the African continent, and a respectable 24th position globally, as measured by Reporters Without Borders.
Additionally, he said, Namibia obtained the maximum score of zero on the ‘abuse’ sub-index of press freedom, which means that no journalist has been harassed in any manner during the review period.
Furthermore, Steytler said, apart from subdued economic activity, the underlying fundamentals of the Namibian economy have improved meaningfully, as reflected in a slower rate of increase in overall government debt, narrowing in the trade deficit and significant increase in net international reserves to more than five months of import coverage, compared to the HHP target of three months.
“In absolute terms, Namibia’s international reserves exceeded N$31.5 billion at the end of September 2017, compared to only N$13.5 billion at the end of 2014,” he said.
With regard to poverty eradication, Steytler expressed satisfaction, saying the country continues to make inroads in the fight against hunger and poverty.
He said that according to the latest available national statistics, overall poverty declined to 18 percent in 2015/2016 from 37.7 percent in 2003/2004, while food poverty declined to 5.8 percent from 9.0 percent during the same year.
Likewise, he said, the food bank operations in Windhoek continue to positively impact the lives of vulnerable beneficiaries.
As a result of year one lessons learned, he said, the monthly number of registered households showed a steady decline from approximately 18,600 households or 80,000 individuals, to 15,700 households or 69,000 individuals.
According to him, the idea has always been that the food bank should benefit food-insecure households in urban and peri-urban areas and that beneficiaries must graduate over time from food aid, once they no longer meet the minimum income requirement.
With respect to housing delivery and housing sanitation, Steytler said that since the launch of HPP, the total number of plots serviced since March 2016 stands at 8,769, of which 2,414 have been serviced through the government-funded mass urban land servicing programme.
Another 2,524 plots were serviced through government-funded projects, 1,190 by local authorities, 2,003 through public-private partnership (PPP) arrangements and 525 by the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), primarily for uniformed personnel.
He said the total number of houses constructed stands at 8,100, of which 3,405 have been constructed under the mass housing initiative, with a high subsidy component for occupants; 1,598 have been constructed on a PPP basis with 1,487 by private developers and 223 by the GIPF, primarily for uniformed personnel.
The total number of rural toilets constructed stands at 1,850, but due to financing constraints the construction is very much behind schedule, he added.
Furthermore, Steytler said the government has identified 1,856 bucket toilets countrywide. He said that since the inception of HPP in April last year, 876 new toilets have been constructed to replace bucket toilets. The remaining toilets are to be replaced and are under construction.
He said the government’s goal is to have the bucket toilet eliminated by the end of the 2017/2018 financial year, “which is attainable”.
Steytler also spoke on achievements in infrastructure development and the country’s international relations and cooperation.
••••• Caption (media briefing)
New Era Reporter
2017-12-14 08:52:57 | 2 years ago