Swapo parliamentarian Natangwe Ithete has called for speedy implementation of special economic zones.
He said once implemented, Namibia will become independent from other economies and achieve its aspirations of industrialisation, economic diversification, and development.
Ithete made this call in parliament on Tuesday while contributing to the mid-term budget review tabled by finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi earlier this month where he announced N$2.2 billion has been made available for reallocation.
Ithete said the medium-term budgetary review does not only facilitate the monitoring by providing a benchmark against budgetary developments over time but it also helps ensure fiscal discipline by making more apparent the impact of policies on the government balance in the coming years.
“I welcome the review because although the country has experienced its worst economic downturn, we continue to thrive and grow with limited revenue,” he said.
He said the reallocations of funds to the health ministry to boost the country’s Covid response and to the anti-poaching activities as well as support the operations of Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) is crucial.
He said these reallocations are crucial to the recovery of the economy and ensure that Namibia is ready in case another wave of Covid-19 is to come. He said during the first and second quarters of 2021, Namibia’s economic environment was confronted by numerous macroeconomic shocks as well as the Covid-19 pandemic that inflicted the entire global economy.
Besides the loss of lives, Ithete said the pandemic destabilised the economy through disruptions in trade, tourism, production, productivity, supply chains, and other various integration mechanisms.
Additionally, he said the real GDP has also contracted in the first and second quarters of 2021.
With regards to the domestic economy, Ithete said the impact of the pandemic has transmitted through trade and tourism restrictions, low commodity demand, and international commodity prices.
He said the contraction in the economy was observed across all sectors. Furthermore, he said, Covid-19 did not only affect the domestic economy but also the trade balance, as the country continues to experience a trade deficit although the total trade has improved over the two quarters.
“lt is imperative that even during these trying times, we remain resilient and continue with the implementation of development policies and strategies to ensure that not only the GDP of the country improves but also increase the productivity and government earnings,” he said.