Government has come under heavy attack – mostly based on sheer ignorance and partisan politics – for the multi-billion dollar investment deal it struck with Russian company, Comsar.
Comsar, on insistence of government, bought four farms that belonged to private white owners - and donated them to government. Government, at its own terms, then leased the farms back to the Russians.
For the record, the farms did not belong to the state. It thus defies logic that now, when they belong to the state, critics are out with their venomous artilleries of criticism targeting government.
Armchair critics seem to suggest they were happy with the farms being in private hands as opposed to have them belong to the people of Namibia through their government.
That government did not pay a single cent for the four farms that it now proudly owns is a major coup.
The deal reminds us very much about food that God gave miraculously to the Israelites in the Exodus, after the food they had brought with them out of Egypt had run out.
If anything, to get land stretching so many hectares for free – after meticulous and witty negotiations – should actually earn government loud plaudits.
Jesus’ phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer is reminiscent of unemployed and impoverished Namibians appealing to government to pull in investments and help create jobs and infrastructural development.
But while keeping in mind those currently unemployed, such as the struggling communities of Dordabis and surrounding areas, government has an obligation to spare a thought for generations that will be here 99 years from now.
It is easy to ridicule efforts such as this, which concern development of our country and socio-economic improvements of our people, but the impact that this can make on the lives and aspirations of concerned communities is everlasting.
Government must actually be encouraged to pull off more investment deals with finesse and foresightedness as they did with Comsar.
State ownership of key national resources such as land should be encouraged. Once secured, such land must then be used in a way that benefits the people of our country, which is what happened in this particular case.
By its very nature, land has so much use. Resettlement, as trumped up by some critics of this deal, is just a fraction of what land can be used for.
There is enough land for all of us. Land to live and conduct business on, and land to produce food from. The parochial view that seems to suggest that land is for resettlement or housing only is lazily construed and lacks thoughtfulness.
People need jobs too, and government needs taxes to help invest in further development of our country. To rake in such taxes, the country needs an active business and investment environment.
Government thus has a responsibility to strike a fine balance between various uses of land to keep the nation going.
There’s no point focusing on resettlement alone if those resettled have no access to schools, public healthcare facilities and jobs.
The state needs financial resources to avail such services to those resettled and the nation at large. But such resources can never be secured if government bows to these anti-business sentiments of the opposition and armchair critics who have made it their forte to downplay anything that government comes up with.
2018-10-26 09:19:10 20 days ago