KEETMANSHOOP – Namibians should rather focus on providing solutions as opposed to concentrating more on problems as a means to address the current challenges in the country.
Mines and energy minister Tom Alweendo made these remarks when delivering his keynote address during the University of Namibia (Unam) annual research conference held last week at Keetmanshoop.
The minister commended the tertiary institution’s management for being an active roleplayer in the search for solutions to the country’s economic challenges.
“It is a fact that over the last three years our economy has not been doing well,” Alweendo said. He said that this resulted in people losing their jobs, cost-cutting measures being implemented on government’s expenditures and a further decrease in public sector investments out of fear for the future and the unknown.
Alweendo added that these circumstances make people become less hopeful, doubting their abilities to manage the economic hardships they are facing.
“Despite the current tough economic conditions, I firmly believe that we have what it takes to turn the tide,” he reasoned.
Alweendo advised that in order to achieve this one should come out of one’s comfort zone and venture into unexplored avenues, leaving behind what doesn’t serve one anymore. “Today we live in a volatile, complex and unpredictable world, coupled with ever-changing technology that we can only fit into if we embrace innovation and creativity,” said Alweendo.
Referring to governance and ethics as sub-themes of the conference, Alweendo referred to a lack of it as corruption. He said that corruption not only affects economic development, but it in addition affects equitable distribution of resources and thereby increases income inequality in society. As one of its negative impacts corruption furthermore “has an adverse effect on the provision of public services,” the minister emphasised.
He said that this is, amongst others, caused by the fact that, because of their corrupted mind-set, some taxpayers evade and avoid their responsibilities towards government.
“Enterprises at the centre of economic growth find it difficult to grow and prosper and become less competitive and highly inefficient” due to corrupt practices, he said. He added that inflated costs incurred from service providers for the provision of large infrastructure is an evil emanating from corruption that “reduce s the government’s capacity to fund social welfare”.
Alweendo stressed that empirical evidence has proven that failure of governance as a result of a lack of ethical leadership necessarily leads to corruption.
“It is therefore important that we make ethical and principled leadership a core issue in our choice of leaders.”
He said that although it will be required from leaders to make decisions that will not always please followers, it is advisable for them to first earn their followers’ respect, commitment and loyalty to make the task easier.
He cautioned leaders “to always be on the lookout for what is likely to be career-ending rather than career-enhancing when faced with offers of inducement to cut corners”.
The minister, in conclusion of his speech, urged Namibians to make it their responsibility to promote good governance and thereby accelerate the processes of socio-economic development.