President Hage Geingob has been roundly praised this year, first for the honesty he displayed in an interview with New Era in March, wherein he underscored successes of his administration but also its shortcomings.
Friends and foes alike were united in lauding the President in admitting some of the shortfalls of his administration, such as stating that perhaps some of the targets contained in the Harambee Propsperity Plan (HPP) were a tad too ambitious.
Leadership is about many things, including humility, honesty and integrity. And the President showed all these characteristics in voluminous proportions in conceding some of the unflattering facts haunting his administration.
Yesterday, President Geingob’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) inspired hope and anticipation.
Overall, to hear that the country is in a better shape this year than it was in 2018 is already news worth celebrating, though with restraint.
The projections, even economic ones released by the Bank of Namibia this week about incremental growth, are the kind of news Namibians have waited to hear for sometimes now.
There remain mammoth challenges, admittedly. Unemployment, especially among the youth (standing at about 43 percent) is a source of great concern.
But we are inspired by the fact that the stimulus packages that the newly-assembled High Level Panel on the Namibian Economy is tasked to help create would be youth-centric. There is thus great reason to look to the future.
Recognising that the government wage bill is, in the President’s own words ‘insane’, also creates an expectation that there are concerted efforts to finally contain this situation to manageable heights.
Insane is, for example, the fact that the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture will spend N$11,4 billion of the N$13,7 billion allocated to it this year on remunerative expenditure. It is a structural problem that cannot go on unabated, especially when we have children in this country that are being taught under trees and using their laps as ‘tables’ when writing tests and summaries.
If more than 80 percent of the allocated money is destined for employees’ pockets, what is left to build new classrooms, buy stationery and repair buildings?
Like President Geingob said yesterday, it is a difficult balancing act because to trim the fat that is the wage bill, certain compromises might have to be reached, such as retrenching workers – something that Geingob said he would not entertain.
With unemployment already chasing 30 percent, the country cannot afford to send more armies of jobless people onto the streets.
One way to cut remunerative spending in government is to declare certain positions redundant, once vacated by their occupiers, whether through death, resignation or dismissal.
It is a challenge that we have to tackle head-on until such time that there is a sense of stability.
In the final analysis, the state of the nation is stable and we must hence sustain the efforts implemented so far in order to reach the ultimate destination of prosperity for all. Namibia must continue to win.
New Era Reporter
2019-04-18 09:34:53 4 months ago