• July 4th, 2020

Namibians must benefit from its natural resources - !Gawaxab

In order to ensure Namibia’s natural resources wealth benefits all, the High-Level Panel on the Namibian Economy has identified there is a need for a framework to regulate such proceeds to benefit the majority and not individuals. 

“We believe we need a framework where the proceeds of the natural resources of the country should benefit the majority and not just individuals.  The current system is not working. It needs to be reviewed to improve the way it brings benefits to the majority and not individuals,” the panel’s chairperson Johanness !Gawaxab said yesterday. 

The panel, made up of Gawaxab, his deputy Nangula Uaandja, Florette Nakusera, Estelle Tjipueja, Ester Simon and Kauna Ndilula, presented the second report of set recommendations to President Hage Geingob yesterday at State House. 

The second report given to the president provides an update on the panel’s activities since the economic growth summit last year. Equally, !Gawaxab highlighted, the report talks about a 10-point plan, including the provision of housing, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), micro-economic stability, fishing quotas and rights, mineral rights, leveraging public assets, public sector reform, water and electricity, and the fourth industrial revolution, among others. 

The most important recommendations, he mentioned, are job creation and support to SMEs, as well as new areas the panel considers imperative for economic revival. The panel affirmed Namibia can become the first zero-emission country on the continent. 

“The message the final report carries is loud and clear. Namibia is facing severe economic headwinds and the economy is re-balancing, while the government is implementing significant fiscal consolidation. Income inequality and unemployment remain relatively high,” !Gawaxab maintained. 

The panel asserts that maintaining the status quo means negative growth, more public debt, less competitiveness and high unemployment rate, which lead to potential instability and increasing social unrest. 

!Gawaxab, however, acknowledged that all these bottlenecks are avoidable and can be changed. He further declared that the time is now to introduce some structures to allow the country to address these bottlenecks. 

The panel contends that the economy can be turned around by making smart policy choices, and appointing capable people and competent leaders. 

The panel presented their final report as a response to the terms of reference given to them. “What we are proposing here are evidence-based practical solutions. There are revolutionary bold ideas we are proposing to revive the economy. Doing nothing is not a choice. As Namibians, we all need to accept that it is time for us to take that painful difficult decision. If we continue on that basis, we are comprising our own sovereignty as a country,” he remarked. 

The panel was given a task to propose recommendations on growing the economy, creating jobs, addressing inequality and poverty, supporting small and medium enterprises, and identifying legislative and regulatory bottlenecks that are slowing down the economy. The panel was further tasked to organise the economic growth summit and attract investors to Namibia last year. 

“As a panel, we followed existing structures, policies, programmes and plans. We seriously interrogated each one for value, appropriateness, efficacy, delivery and efficiency. We organised workshops and engaged key stakeholders, consulted widely and challenged ourselves to search for better formulation and configuration to provide solutions to what people demanded,” !Gawaxab noted. 

The panel also confirmed that the summit, held last year and funded by the private sector, was audited and the report is unqualified. In June last year, the panel provided its first set of 15 recommendations to Geingob, which included policy and regulatory, sectoral, public-finance interventions that will serve to promote Namibia as an attractive investment and tourism destination. 

At least, he said, 13 of these 15 recommendations were implemented. He further acclaimed the home affairs ministry needs to get credit in terms of implementing recommendations on residence permits for people who want to invest in Namibia. As a panel, they commended the government for addressing issues they raised in the first report.

Albertina Nakale
2020-02-26 06:55:40 | 4 months ago

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